What it’s like working in the ‘eighth wonder of the world’

Date: 12 October 2023

Can you live and work in Piopiotahi Milford Sound? Imagine waking up every morning to towering cliffs, lush greenery, and crystal-clear waters. Not to mention the opportunities to spot wildlife! This is a life where your office is on water, and your daily commute is cruising a fiord. Working in Milford Sound is not just a job, it's an adventure. We spoke to our Milford Sound team, and these were the highlights they shared about living and working in one of the remotest places in New Zealand. Read on to find out what it’s like. 

What is Milford Sound? 

Milford Sound, located on the southwest coast of New Zealand's South Island, is a place of outstanding natural beauty. It’s part of the Fiordland National Park, which is renowned for dramatic landscapes, rugged cliffs, and the rarest native wildlife. Milford Sound is the crown, concentrating all of Fiordland’s epic nature in one spot. It’s full of cascades and perspective-shifting mountains and has some of the most dramatic weather in New Zealand, which only adds to the spectacular scenes. Overall, it’s a destination that attracts explorers from around the world, including the most adventurous career seekers. 

Waterfalls in Milford Sound

Wake up your mind 

As New Zealand wakes up, and the sun peeks over the horizon, you’re starting another day in Milford Sound. Watch the sunrise of all sunrises as it begins to illuminate the fiord’s water. Those brave enough wake up with a dip in the fiord before taking some meditative breaths and throwing themselves into the day. Mornings in Milford Sound are peaceful, before guests arrive, you have the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ all to yourself.

A shadowed morning view of the sun glaring between two mountains in Milford Sound

Working in the wonder 

What kind of work is in Milford Sound? Maritime, tourism, or hospitality, whatever avenue you choose to explore, you’re guaranteed to spend a lot of time exposed to the elements. It’s part of the real Milford Sound experience! Over half of the days in a year are spent under significant rainfall, so coming equipped with a good raincoat and wet weather gear is a must. RealNZ team members are kitted out in Cactus Outdoor, hardworking, and sustainable gear. No matter which area you work in, teams need tough gear to embrace the metres and metres of rainfall.

Guarding the environment

Beyond tourism, Milford Sound is a place that needs protection. That’s where conservationists come in. Some are hired full-time, but others like to do conservation work outside of their daily duties. Working at RealNZ offers team members heaps of opportunities to add conservation excursions into their routine. These conservation activities could be resetting and checking pest traps, monitoring cameras to check on wildlife, and removing invasive non-native plant life. Adding conservation work into your life in Milford Sound is a rewarding and grounding activity that connects you with the place on an even deeper level.

Adventure seekers

On days off, you’re not stuck for things to do. Adventure seekers are spoiled in Milford Sound, and every day is an opportunity for adventure. From kayaking through narrow fiord passages to hiking in the surrounding rainforests, all your free time is spent on exhilarating escapades, returning with unforgettable memories. Even days at work offer spare mornings and evenings to seize. Squeeze in that short hike or go for that swim. Milford Sound is your oyster. 

Group of friends kayaking in Milford Sound with boat and mountains in the background

A unique lifestyle 

Working in Milford Sound is not just a job, it's a lifestyle. The community here is tight-knit, bonded by a shared love for nature and protecting it. This extraordinary place allows all those who work in its extraordinary space to develop a profound connection with the environment and the guests who visit. 

A dramatic starry night at Milford Sound, with the shadow of the mountains reflected in the water