Though Milford Sound is inarguably one of New Zealand’s most popular attractions, the Road to Milford is as much of a sight as the actual Sound itself. Lined with waterfalls, vistas, and trails, the road to Milford is a weaving journey that’s best when traveled slowly—taking time to enjoy the sights and break up the lengthy drive. One of those sights is Mirror Lakes, where small lakes often bear the reflection of the snowcapped Earl Mountains. It’s only a short walk on a wooden boardwalk to reach the popular lakes, and aside from it being a nice place to stretch and shake out your legs from the sitting, there’s an alpine serenity and sense of calm that accompanies the lakeshore scene. Oftentimes, mornings will have the calmest conditions and the least amount of wind, which reduces the ripples and increases the chance of a classic mountain reflection. This is the perfect spot for landscape photographers to capture the beauty of Milford, and perhaps go home with a shot that captures a different side of the journey.
The Mirror Lakes walk is located about 34 miles north of Te Anau, and there is plenty of parking in the associated parking lot as well as along the roadside. Average hiking time is about 10 minutes, and the trail is only about ¼ mile long and is well maintained and signposted.