The Homer Tunnel is an iconic feature of the Milford Sound Road, providing the only vehicle access through the Southern Alps to Milford Sound. The tunnel is a 1.2 km long, unlit, single-lane road that passes through a mountain and emerges into the Cleddau Valley, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and waterfalls.
Construction of the Homer Tunnel began in 1935 as part of a government initiative to create jobs during the Great Depression. Workers used hand tools and explosives to excavate the tunnel through solid granite, a challenging and dangerous task that took almost 20 years to complete. The tunnel finally opened in 1954, providing year-round access to Milford Sound for the first time.
Today, the Homer Tunnel remains a vital part of the Milford Sound Road, providing access to thousands of visitors each year. The road is typically open year-round, although it may be closed temporarily due to weather conditions, such as heavy snow or rock falls. Visitors should check road conditions before embarking on the journey and be prepared for possible delays or closures.
Despite the tunnel’s importance, driving through it can be an exciting and unique experience, especially for those who have never driven through a mountain tunnel before. The tunnel is narrow and unlit, with sharp turns and occasional waterfalls cascading down its walls. However, the tunnel is generally safe to drive through as long as visitors obey the speed limit and drive carefully.
The Homer Tunnel is a fascinating and essential feature of the Milford Sound Road, offering visitors a glimpse into the area’s history and providing an unforgettable driving experience.