Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor) and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World.
As a fiord, Milford Sound was formed by a process of glaciation over millions of years. Milford Sound runs 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea at Dale Point —the mouth of the fiord—and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 1,200 metres or more on either side. Among the peaks are The Elephant at 1,517 metresand The Lion, 1,302 metres.
Milford Sound sports two permanent waterfalls, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls.After heavy rain temporary waterfalls can be seen running down the steep sided rock faces that line the fiord. They are fed by rain water drenched moss and will last a few days at most once the rain stops.