Queenstown is not the gateway to Milford Sound, so there’s no need to force through quicker routes between the two. Te Anau, a beautiful township on the edge of Lake Te Anau, services visitors to Fiordland. It provides the perfect stop off point for people wishing to visit Milford Sound, accessible from Te Anau by coach in two hours. Te Anau provides accommodation, restaurants, shops and even a cinema.
The money-driven obsession that is currently trying to link Queenstown and Milford Sound, through treacherous mountains in an earthquake zone and world heritage area, is particularly incongruous when Te Anau already exists as a service town and base for Milford-bound tourists, with easy access to Te Anau from Queenstown by car or bus, and possibly rail in the future, up a wide valley that doesn’t run through National Parks.
Te Anau is also easily accessible for visitors arriving from Invercargill or Dunedin.