Incredible Milford Sound Elopement

Elopement Celebration in Milford Sound: Day 1

You may recognize this couple from a past blog- S + S had their formal ceremony back home in Washington earlier this year. Wayyyy back in 2020 they had originally hoped to elope in New Zealand (I’ll give you two guesses as to why THAT didn’t happen) and when they finally decided to do the damn thing, they split their elopement celebration between having their legal ceremony in Washington, and an adventurous Milford Sound Elopement bonus later in the winter (which happens to be New Zealands Summer!)

When we first chatted the couple initially mentioned wanting to stick to the North Island- but we quickly realized a shared love over Milford Sound (it was a place that became super important to me during this life changing New Zealand Road trip– it is tattooed on my back and you may recognize it as my logo!) and the plans quickly changed.

Milford Sound is a truly incredible place- tucked at the furthest end of Fjiordland National Park on the southern most tip of the South Island of New Zealand… it’s hard to get to. Add to that, it’s a full hour and 45 minutes from the nearest town of Te Anau and the only lodging in the park is Milford Sound Lodge. You can camp your camper van here (like S + S did!) or stay in one of their truly outstanding rooms (like I did with my husband for our vow renewal- Pro Tip: Stay here. It’s incredible).

Most folks take day trips from Queenstown via charter bus, which is a 6 hour round trip drive. This means that come 5:00pm? The parking lot has cleared out and you have the 8th wonder of the world… nearly to yourself. I’m not kidding. These photos look like this couple is totally alone during their Milford Sound Elopement. Thats because *we are*.

We met up that evening at the couples camper van over by Milford Lodge before heading over to the main parking lot for a short hike out to the beach. The tide was rolling out so as the sun set we got to discover newly revealed parts of the beach. We had SUCH an amazing time hanging out again in a place that meant so much to us all. And we got SO lucky with the weather. Milford Sound is truly incredible during any weather (the hundreds of waterfalls are dormant unless it rains- so the scenery in the rain is off the charts incredible). It’s one of the rainiest places the world, so we really lucked out with that sun (a theme of my visits there- all three times I’ve visited? Sun.)

I could wax poetic about why New Zealand and Milford Sound is the best- but don’t take it from me. Take it from my couple, who had this to say about eloping in New Zealand:

“Who wouldn’t want to exchange vows in the Isengard Valley? Or under the Shadow of Amon Amarth? Or in the enchanted forest of Lothlórien? But seriously, New Zealand is an incredible place with some of the most iconic scenery in the world. From the subtropics of the northern north island, volcanic central north island, and the towering southern alps and fjords of the South Island, NZ is one the most beautiful and easy to traverse places you can go. And if you are looking for solitude to exchange vows, it is certainly not hard to find there. Even the most popular trails and tramping tracks are not overwhelmingly overrun with people, and all it takes is a slight detour to a less traveled trail and you may not see anyone for hours. Or if you really want to get off the beaten path, there are a number of Helicopter Charters available on the South Island that can quickly get you to some places that few people of stepped foot on.

NZ is an easy place to love! The people are friendly, there’s a plethora of beautiful natural spaces and New Zealanders are serious about caring for the natural world. There’s a high prevalence of trail magic in NZ and it spills over into “Freedom Camping”. There are so many really cool little spots where you can camp a self-contained campervan for little to no cost that are majestical.”

Love this Milford Sound Elopement? Check out my blog on How to Elope in New Zealand.

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— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?
I'm Aimée Flynn, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, former therapist, and taker of the epic pics. But don't think I'm here just to take pretty photos (though there will be pretty photos a-plenty) I’m here to guide you through every step of your elope elopement experience; I’m your location scouter, gatherer of all in info, formal wear wrangler, & hype committee. 

I’m also a storyteller. Your storyteller. And while I'm here for the epic, magazine-cover-worthy, totally bananas moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those goofy, silly, unexpected moments that adventure always seems to bring. I'm here to tell your story in the honest and epic fashion it deserves.
Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!

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