Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Highway Drive Photo Gallery
Jucy offers the cheapest coach-cruise-coach tour from Queenstown. It didn't include lunch and presumably not a glass-roofed coach. Being late winter / early spring, I wasn't worried the tour would be full so I booked the day before. Pick-up was in front of the YHA Lakeside, where I took advantage of the lake views before the bus punctually arrived at 7:30am.
As we approached Te Anau, I checked the website again and the good news came that the road would re-open at 10am. The skies cleared out as well although it was still quite chilly.
Milford Sound is actually very close to Queenstown on a straight line - directly northwest. However, there is no road through the mountains, which is why we need to do a U-shaped 4-hour drive south, west, then back north. However, the beautiful Milford Highway out of Te Anau is a tourist attraction itself. The tour bus made many stops along the way so we could get off to admire the scenery.
We made a pit stop again in Te Anau so the driver can have a legally-required break. The cafe there didn't have enough food for all of us, so I headed outside to see the sheep graze instead.