Milford Sound on road to recovery after flood damage closed state highway

Milford Sound is back on the road to recovery with the first tourist buses rolling into the popular destination.

The scenic hotspot has been largely cut off for almost three weeks after flooding caused major damage to the state highway.

It's great news for tourists waiting for the opportunity to visit the popular site. 

"I really wanted to go to Milford Sound when I was planning this trip, so I was sad to see that we might not get to go," tourist Candra Baizean told Newshub.

Tourism operators are also excited by the news.

Since torrential rain closed the road at the start of the month, just a few hundred people a day have been flying in and out of the area.

Milford Sound Tourism's General Manager Tim Holland told Newshub that seeing the buses rolling in was absolutely fantastic.

"We can't wait to show people Milford again. We love sharing our back yard. And it's great to have a few more people to do that," he said.

More than 70 tourist buses were on three convoys today which is half the number that normally visit at this time of year.

Shaun Liddy, Ultimate Hikes Track Operations Manager said it's an awesome feeling, to finally get people through. 

The Milford visitors' terminal flooded earlier this month.
The Milford visitors' terminal flooded earlier this month. Photo credit: EMS

However, the downturn is putting pressure on tourism operators.

Real Journeys reducing operations in Milford Sound with some seasonal staff taking voluntary redundancy, or being redeployed to other areas.

"Getting people there, getting the tourism flow going again will be great for not only our region but the country," Paul Norris, Real Journeys General Manager told Newshub. 

Repair work will continue on Milford Road for many months, but the happy visitors will be ticking this tourist highlight off their bucket lists.