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Lake Tekapo or Milford Sound?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Lake Tekapo or Milford Sound?

1. Posted by OliandEden (Budding Member 9 posts) 1y

Hello follow Travelers!

We are currently in New Zealand, we havnt got much time on the South Island, we have been working in Christchurch and are going to explore.. We are going to the Franz Josef Glaciers and are looking to go either to Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook or Milford Sound.

I'm sure they are both equally amazing and wish we could do both. Which one would people recommend. Any help appreciated.

Cheers guys!

2. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 653 posts) 1y

If you're stuck for time Milford is a loooong detour. Do Tekapo and if it leaves you any spare time linger around Wanaka en route to the glaciers. Mount Aspiring is not quite the fiords but it's the other side of the same mountains and is very scenic, Wanaka is a good base for this and go to the cinema there. :-)

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 1y

Lake Tekapo is my absolute favorite location in New Zealand, and I'm probably the biggest cheerleader of it you'll find on these boards... but all the same, I'd say Milford Sound is probably the more objectively impressive one, and if you really can't find both in, the one you should aim for as being more likely to be worth having seen. I love Lake Tekapo for just settling down for a couple of days of complete relaxation after sometimes overly full travelling days; and it sounds like that wouldn't (yet) be the situation you'll find yourself in.

Where are you going to end up going to? Flying onward from Christchurch again, or...? You can do a (loooong, exhausting, but doable) daytrip from Queenstown to Milford Sound (take a tourbus, you'd only be stuck on the road behind them anyway if travelling independently). Assuming you indeed want to leave from Christchurch, then combined with the glaciers, you might do a loop like so:
day 1: Travel to the glaciers, lunch at Arthur's Pass
day 2: Explore the glaciers
day 3: Travel to Queenstown, make certain to see Thunder Falls at Haast Pass
day 4: Milford Sound daytrip
day 5: Travel to Lake Tekapo, detour for lunch at Mt. Cook only if the sky looks clear (you should be able to see Mt. Cook from the south end of Lake Pukaki, 5 minutes beyond the start of the road to Mt. Cook; if you can't, skip the detour and head straight to Lake Tekapo). At Lake Tekapo, hike to the top of Mt. John, having a hot chocolate at the observatory cafe.
day 6: Travel onward to Christchurch.

Obviously (way) more time for this loop would be way better, but the above is doable, and would be something I'd personally be willing to do without feeling too rushed about it all.