Why visit the Mirror Lakes?
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound takes you through some awesome alpine scenery. A visit to the Mirror Lakes makes for a great chance to stretch your legs and see some of the world class nature this region is famous for. It’s a short distraction from the road (a visit to the Mirror Lakes typically takes around 10 minutes) but the view is well worth jostling with dozens of tour bus passengers for.
The Mirror Lakes (or lake — I only saw one!)
I’m about to get an award for the most obvious statement ever written in a travel blog, but the Mirror Lakes get their name from their remarkable reflective qualities. It’s like a big, um, mirror – so now you know where the name came from. I’m not sure how you would survive without this travel blog! A visit to the Mirror Lakes involves walking along a wooden boardwalk dotted with viewing platforms. Most people visit the Mirror Lakes in the morning and it seems like it’s the best time in terms of light. We drove past this place again in the afternoon and the mountains behind the lakes were almost fully in shade.
There’s not much more to say about the Mirror Lakes. The view from the wooden platforms is pretty awesome and it’s definitely worth stopping there on the way to Milford Sound. I do wish that they extended the boardwalk a bit more though, as you can really only see a fraction of the lakes.
Getting to the Mirror Lakes
The drive from Te Anau (and Queenstown, which is the way most people go) is one of the most spectacular in New Zealand. It takes around two hours to reach Milford Sound from Te Anau and the Mirror Lakes are roughly half way along the Milford – Te Anau Road. There are heaps of other places to stop along this road, including the Chasm, Humboldt Falls (which is reached via a 17 km gravel road), Lake Gunn and various other viewpoints. There are also some awesome hikes in Fiordland National Park, including Lake Marian, Key Summit and Earland Falls.
A lot of people visit Milford Sound on a tour bus from Queenstown. It’s a good way to do it if you’re short on time but driving there yourself and spending a couple of days in Fiordland National Park is the best option. There is so much to see – we spent two and a half days there recently and didn’t come close to seeing it all.
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