A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Milford Sound vs. Cromwell for Hiking, Skiing, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Milford Sound and Cromwell. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a iconic, breathtaking, and world renowned fiord. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Visitors also love the skiing and hiking.

Cromwell

Cromwell is a outdoorsy, historical, and cultural town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's also popular because of the museums, skiing, and nightlife.

Milford Sound and Cromwell: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable


Is there more to do in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cromwell. Although Milford Sound and Cromwell are both popular with visitors, Cromwell has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Cromwell is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, shopping, and small town charm, while Milford Sound is known for its skiing, hiking, and impressive beauty. Milford Sound is popular for its iconic hiking trails, stunning boat tours, and dramatic mountains. Cromwell is popular for its fruit farms, orchards, and vineyards. It is also home to the big fruit.

How is Milford Sound different from Cromwell?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Cromwell and Milford Sound. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Skiing?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Milford Sound is a great fiord for skiing. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for snow skiing.

Visitors travel far to experience snow skiing in Milford Sound. Many locals head to the snow-capped peaks to enjoy skiing, but if you're unfamiliar with the area, a ski tour is your best option.

Head to Cromwell for some great skiing and other winter activities. The town isn't far from several ski fields, so it attracts winter sports enthusiasts when the weather gets cold.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its museums and history. However, Milford Sound does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Cromwell. There are some interesting historical activities around town like Goldfields Mining Centre.

Milford Sound does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Milford Sound or Cromwell? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its restaurants. However, Milford Sound is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

Cromwell is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are charming cafes and bakeries where you can grab a light meal or snack. There are also quaint restaurants and wineries with nice meals available.

While Milford Sound is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. You'll find a restaurant or two in the small town of Milford Sound. Your best option is the Milford Sound Lodge. In the park you'll want to come prepared with your own food. Many organized tours include a picnic lunch.

Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Nightlife?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Milford Sound is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Cromwell. There are a few breweries and a number of wineries around town where you can have a relaxing night out.

Milford Sound is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Hiking?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Milford Sound is very popular for hiking. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Around Milford Sound visitors will find world-class hiking trails. The Milford Track has long been considered one of the world's best hikes. It's also, arguably, the most famous hike in New Zealand. The 53 kilometer trek takes you from Lake Te Anau through stunning scenery, alpine settings, and across spectacular suspension bridges.

Cromwell is a popular spot for hiking. There are many beautiful walks in the area that take you through diverse landscapes and to impressive views.

Is the Shopping Better in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its shopping areas. However, Milford Sound is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Cromwell has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a farmers market in town as well as several local vendors and cute shops.

Milford Sound is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Families?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Both Milford Sound and Cromwell are very good family-friendly destinations.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Milford Sound. The outdoor wonders will impress the kids as much as the adults. There are shorter walks that are family-friendly and the boat rides are also fun for the whole family. You can take a scenic flight or visit the stunning Mirror Lakes. This really is a playground for both kids and adults.

Cromwell is a very family-friendly place to visit. The lakefront setting means that there are water activities during the warmer months. There are also ski fields nearby for the winter months. Biking and walking are also popular in the area.


Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Couples?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Milford Sound and Cromwell both very good destinations for a couple.

Milford Sound makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This is one of the most stunning natural areas in the world, and the romance comes from the spectacular beauty, world class hikes, and breathtaking surroundings that will leave you awed and inspired.

Couples visit Cromwell frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Cycling, walking, kayaking, and skiing all make this a romantic a charming town to visit as a couple. There are also wineries in the area with beautiful vineyards.

Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Milford Sound and Cromwell are both good destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Milford Sound. The area's remoteness and high price tag make it a bit challenging for backpackers and budget travelers. If you have plenty of time and enough money, it is truly a not to be missed destination.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Cromwell. There are a handful of great hostels in the area and plenty of things to keep backpackers entertained.

Is Milford Sound or Cromwell Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Visitors will find decent public transit in both Milford Sound and Cromwell.

Public transit is mostly limited in Milford Sound. There are buses in the area, but private vehicles or organized tours are your best option for getting around.

Public transit is generally limited in Cromwell. Public transit around town is limited to a couple of buses.


Is Milford Sound or Cromwell a more walkable city?

Milford Sound
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its ease of walking around. However, Milford Sound is lacking in options for its walkability.

Cromwell is a somewhat walkable town. Parts of the town are walkable.

Milford Sound is not a walkable fiord. This is one of the most remote places in New Zealand so you really must have a car or organized transportation to get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Milford Sound Worth Visiting? and Is Cromwell Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cromwell or Milford Sound?

How long in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Milford Sound or Cromwell to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Milford Sound than Cromwell because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-6 days is a good amount of time for Milford Sound, and 1-2 days is enough time in Cromwell.

Families should spend more time in Cromwell than Milford Sound. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cromwell, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cromwell than Milford Sound. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cromwell that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cromwell than Milford Sound if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cromwell.


  • How many days in Milford Sound or Cromwell? Ideal Length of Stay
    Milford Sound 2-6 
    Cromwell 1-2

One day in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

The beautiful fiord of Milford Sound offers skiing. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and skiing when visiting the outdoorsy destination of Cromwell. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A weekend in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Milford Sound is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this fiord makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Milford Sound, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cromwell. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.


Five days in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Milford Sound is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Milford Sound, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the cultural destination of Cromwell. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

A week in Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Milford Sound is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This fiord offers something for everyone.

You'll find food and shopping around the town of Cromwell. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in New Zealand, The Best Luxury Tours to New Zealand, The Best Budget Tours to New Zealand, and The Best Tours for Seniors to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Cromwell or Milford Sound?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Milford Sound is $118, while the average daily cost in Cromwell is $82. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Milford Sound and Cromwell in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Milford Sound $68
    Cromwell $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Milford Sound $136
    Cromwell $78
Compare Hotels in Milford Sound and Cromwell

Looking for a hotel in Milford Sound or Cromwell? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Milford Sound


Hotels in Cromwell


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Cromwell Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Milford Sound $14
    Cromwell $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Milford Sound or Cromwell?

Prices for flights to both Cromwell and Milford Sound change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Milford Sound $34
    Cromwell $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Milford Sound $39
    Cromwell $17

Tours and Activities in Cromwell

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cromwell.

  • Queenstown: Mount Cook Premium Guided Day Tour: $153
  • Ultimate Lake Dunstan Trail Experience Bike & Boat Return: $178

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Milford Sound $13
    Cromwell $9.24

Sample the Local Flavors in Cromwell

Also in Cromwell, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Wines and Views: Private Wine Tour of Otago from Queenstow: $1,513


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Milford Sound and Cromwell, we can see that Milford Sound is more expensive. And not only is Cromwell much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cromwell would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cromwell and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Milford Sound would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Milford Sound than you might in Cromwell.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Milford Sound Expensive? and Is Cromwell Expensive?.


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