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Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

Singapore
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Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

Hi,

I will be in Milford Sound in April. Planning to do a full day excursion - drive from Manapouri to Milford Sound for a day cruise with Mitre Peak and do a side trip to attractions along Milford Sound Road.

How should I arrange the program for the day and what time should I leave from Manapouri? Also we are concern about the narrowness of the Homer Tunnel so is the traffic light in operation at that time?

Appreciate all suggestions/advices.

4 replies to this topic
Te Anau
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1. Re: Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

You should allow 2-1/2 hours to travel from Manapouri to Milford Sound. This will give you time for a couple of quick photo stops. If you envisage stopping more often you should factor this in. It will not give you time to do any walks along the way. You should plan to do these after you have been to the sound, unless you have a late cruise, in which case you can probably do them on the way in if you get an early start, but you will need to watch your times,as the boat will not wait for you.

In addition to the 2-1/2 hours traveling you will need at least 30 minutes to park your car and walk to the terminal, and you will probably want to spend some time looking round the Milford settlement. (it will take at least 5 minutes :) Also, if you are driving a motor home you will (or should) be traveling slower, so give yourself another 30 minutes..

Personally I would plan on arriving in Milford sound 1 hour before the boat is due to depart.

As far as the Homer Tunnel is concerned, it is narrow, but not THAT narrow. It is possible with care for 2 trucks to pass in the tunnel, and I believe a couple of coaches managed to pass a few years ago, before the current trend for coaches to become higher and wider. The lights will probably be operating, but it is towards the end of the season, and they may have been discontinued by April.

I wouldn't lose any sleep worrying about the Homer Tunnel, it's just another part of the great adventure. A good tip is to wear your sun glasses for 10 minutes as you approach the tunnel, and take them off as you enter. This will help your eyes adjust to the darkness. Also, enter the tunnel SLOWLY. The sudden transition from light to dark will make you think your lights aren't on. It takes about 30 seconds for your eyes to adjust. OH and don't forget to turn your lights OFF after you have exited the tunnel, or else you will come back off the cruise to a flat battery.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

Wise advice from VBC :)

Don't be deterred if the day is raining/gloomy - the waterfalls will be spectacular and your photos will be dark and brooding - you could win photographic contests!

It is a lovely drive, enjoy :)

Singapore
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3. Re: Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

Hi vbc and WLnz,

Thank you for responding!

Very useful and important information particularly best to arrive 1 hour before cruise time after factoring drive time/walk from car park. Tips about bad weather as well as switching off the car light after the tunnel!

Is the traffic light still in operation in early April? Will be more comfortable driving in a one-way traffic in narrow dark tunnel.

I am looking forward to this new adventure!

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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4. Re: Drive from Manapouri for Mitre Peak Cruise with side trips

The traffic lights operate over the peak summer period, and are removed once the traffic flow decreases; therefore there is not a fixed time for when they will be removed. April is getting towards the end of the peak period, so they may not be operating; then again, they might be. The following link to the Destination Fiordland site will give you more information. fiordland.org.nz/Files/C-S---Milford-Road.pdf .

As I said, don't sweat over this. its not a big deal. If you are really concerned you can always take a coach tour, but I honestly believe that once you have experienced the. tunnel you will wonder what you were concerned about.. Two cars can easily pass in the tunnel. Motor homes are a different story, as they are higher, and risk contacting the arch in the tunnel roof, which many have done; but motor homes are better left in Te Anau ,while the occupants take a leisurely coach tour.

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Te Anau
Te Anau
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
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