All of the DOC campgrounds along the road to Milford Sound are scenic campsites. This means they have fairly limited facilities, although you can expect toilets, water from either a tap or stream and vehicle access. Some also have wood-burning barbeques and picnic tables. In general, though, it's best to go prepared with all of your cooking equipment and a way of sterilising water. Fees range from $8-$13 per night for an adult, depending on the location and popularity of the campground.
Here is a list of campgrounds in the Fiordland National Park, ranked from nearest to farthest from Milford. Pick one of these gorgeous places to stop over on your way to your Milford Sound cruise.
Cascade Creek Campsite (DOC)
Located at the bottom of Lake Gunn, Cascade Creek is the last campsite before Milford Sound. It's popular with anyone who wants to get to the sound early in the morning or stay later into the evening. As a large, open campsite, it's ideal for people in campervans.
There is space for up to 140 tents. This is a scenic campsite, so there are toilets, but the water supply is straight from a stream.
A historic camp in the Hollyford Valley, Gunn's Camp is a little off the Milford Sound Highway, but well worth the detour. Back in the 1930s, the men building the road into Milford, and their families, lived in the camp. Now, it's a popular stop for people wanting to hike the Hollyford Track or other trails in the Fiordland National Park. It's also a great base for fishing and hunting.
There are tent sites available, as well as cabins and bunkrooms. There's a kitchen, lounge area and hot showers, so it's a comfortable place to stay, even though it does preserve the old-school feel of the buildings.
Upper Eglinton Campsite (DOC)
This is a small campsite with great big valley views. There are only five tent sites, so you're guaranteed a quiet experience. This campsite is not suitable for larger vehicles though, so give it a miss if you are travelling in a campervan.
Kiosk Creek (DOC)
With only 15 tent sites, this is one of the smallest campgrounds on the way to Milford. The views are incredible, and it's accessible for campervans, but you'll need to take your own drinking water.
Set about halfway between Te Anau and Milford, this is a quiet campground with hot showers and a kitchen - a luxury if you're used to cooking out of the back of your car! There are also laundry and recycling facilities. Both tents and campervans are welcome, but there are no powered sites.
For the additional comforts of this campground, you'll pay a bit more than at a DOC scenic site. The rate is $20 per adult per night. Or, for $5 you can just take advantage of the hot shower when you're passing through Knobs Flat
Deer Flat (DOC)
This is the smallest campground near Milford, and possibly anywhere in New Zealand! There are only three tent sites. It's a pretty, grassy spot surrounded by beech forest. The campsite does flood regularly, so steer clear if there has been heavy rain.
Mackay Creek (DOC)
This campground has 20 tent sites and is a great place to stay if you're keen on going for short walks along the river or trying your hand at fly fishing. It's right before the Eglinton Flats, a popular scenic stop on the way to Milford.
This is the second largest campground on the Milford Highway, after Cascade Creek. It's perfect for larger campervans and the lush beech forest around the site means it's gorgeous and sheltered. It's also close to the Mirror Lakes.
Walker Creek Campsite (DOC)
A small five tent site campground tucked away beside the Eglinton River, this spot is only 49 kilometres from Te Anau.
Once you reach Te Anau, you'll find more campgrounds, as well as other accommodation options.