The Milford Mountain Classic event is an epic cycle race through Fiordland, a World Heritage area that has long been described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. Cyclists will marvel at themajestic peaks of Milford Sound looming picturesque in the background, leaving Milford at 4.15pm.
It is a tough 120 km journey from Milford to Te Anau. Two tough hill climbs pose a challenge to riders in New Zealand’s newest cycle race, climbing about 1km (including through the iconic Homer Tunnel) over the gruelling first 20km, roughly. Another steady 150m climb looms from the Hollyford turnoff at the 29km mark. Elite riders are expected to take just over 3 hours to complete the course and recreational riders up to twice that length. The race is a fund-raiser for local high school Fiordland College.
Milford Sound is 120km from Te Anau, a drive of approximately 2 hours, easy with a Queenstown airport car rental. Te Anau in turn is a 2 hour drive from Queenstown. The car park for the event is at Deep Water Basin in Milford Sound, the turn off for which is on the left hand side before the Milford village.
While it may seem strange to hold the race so late in the day, Fiordland is blessed with long summer evenings, with light until around 10.30pm. In addition, practical reasons prevail – Milford Rd is packed with tourists in cars and buses every day, most of all in summer, but the traffic is mostly gone by the afternoon. It also takes time to get to the starting point of the Milford Mountain Classic race in Milford Sound during the day, whether you are leaving from Queenstown or Te Anau.
If you are looking for accommodation for the Milford Mountain Classic, look no further than Distinction Luxmore Hotel and Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas. As event sponsors, both are offering great rates for the weekend. Distinction Luxmore is on the Town Centre road in Te Anau. Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas is just around the corner on Lakefront Drive on the water’s edge. Outdoor enthusiasts should definitely extend their stay to make the most of the numerous outdoor opportunities – beyond biking, there is fishing, hiking and plenty more to do.