Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on a leisurely cruise of this spectacular fiord. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains to lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.
Explore Milford Sound on a relaxed and interactive cruise
Insightful and entertaining commentary
Get excited as we nose right into the waterfalls and the fiord’s sheer cliff faces
This cruise is a co-share trip with our friends at Go Orange.
Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with our leisurely cruise aboard the Milford Haven, Milford Mariner or M.V. Sinbad. Exploring the length of the fiord you’ll learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you move in close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and, in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our experienced skippers tailor the cruise to take into consideration weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you’ll see the best that Milford Sound has to offer on the day.
Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience what’s been called the “eighth wonder of the world”.
Great viewing from both the outdoor decks and indoor lounge
All ages are welcome on our cruises
Complimentary tea and coffee on-board
Licensed bar (extra cost)
The cruise will be aboard the Milford Haven, Milford Mariner or the M.V. Sinbad
The journey to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Road is just as remarkable as the destination itself.
Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau.
If you are self-driving from Queenstown, try to stay overnight in Te Anau as the trip to Milford and back from Queenstown can get very tiring. Also, leave plenty of time to stop at the many scenic trails and lookouts along the way.
We understand that travelling with children can be expensive, which is why we offer ‘Kids Go Free’ specials including a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on steamship TSS Earnslaw, Walter Peak Farm Tours, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Stewart Island and more.
If you are travelling from Queenstown it will take around 5 hours to reach Milford. Te Anau to Milford is around 2 hours 20 minutes. This timing allows for stops along the way for photos or short walks to places of interest. If driving make sure you fill your vehicle with petrol in Te Anau before travelling to Milford (there are no petrol stations at Milford Sound or en route). For more details, refer to our Driving Times webpage.
At Milford where do you park and go to check in?
Parking in Milford Sound is currently free of charge. Please allow up to 45 mins - 1 hour to park your vehicle and transfer to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, where you must check in for your cruise 20 minutes before departure. Car parking at Milford Sound is organised by Milford Sound Tourism (MST). The main parking area is approx. a 10 minute walk to the terminal. Parking in Deepwater Basin is approx. a 25 minute walk from the terminal.
From Saturday, November 1 parking fees will apply in the main car parking area operated by Milford Sound Tourism. The cost will be $20 for up to 5 hours.
What is the Milford Sound Levy?
The Milford Sound Levy is paid to the Milford Sound Tourism authority and helps to maintain, preserve and develop the Fiord. For more information, see the Milford Sound Tourism website.
What weather can I expect in Fiordland?
Fiordland’s weather is what gives the region its unique character. Rainfall is what makes Fiordland a land of lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.
The temperatures you can expect in the different seasons are as follows:
Spring (September-November) 10-19 Celsius / 50- 66 Fahrenheit
Is it worth going to Milford/Doubtful Sounds on a wet day?
Many say you have not seen Fiordland unless you have seen it in the rain. When it rains in Fiordland the landscape is dramatic - rock faces stream with waterfalls, mist hangs around the tops of the mountains and rivers and streams rage. From a dry comfortable vantage point on the bus or boat, this landscape is spectacular for sightseeing.
What is the difference between Milford and Doubtful Sounds?
Our places. Our experiences. Milford and Doubtful Sounds, NZ.
Milford Sound at the mountainous north end of Fiordland National Park is the classic fiord - a deep water inlet between steep sided high mountains. Milford Sound is a middle-sized fiord at around 13 kms in length and it is famous for its dramatic scenery, especially Mitre Peak. This fiord is the most accessible of Fiordland National Park’s 14 fiords and it can be reached by bus, car or flight connections from Queenstown.
Doubtful Sound is located in the heart of Fiordland National Park where the mountains are still very impressive but not as high as Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is three times longer and has a sea surface area roughly ten times larger than Milford Sound. Its three arms are Hall, Crooked and First Arm. It is famous for its wilderness scenery and wildlife sightings. To get to Doubtful Sound visitors first take a launch trip across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass.
Visitors with enough time choose to visit both fiords as they have different characters.
How likely are we to see wildlife in Fiordland?
While we cannot guarantee you will see wildlife, sightings of fur seals are reasonably common in both Doubtful and Milford Sounds. A pod of bottlenose dolphins resides in Doubtful Sound so you have a good chance of seeing these fascinating mammals, and in Milford Sound dolphins are occasional visitors. In both sounds the rare Fiordland crested penguin can at times be observed.
What are the driving conditions to Milford like in the winter?
Driving conditions during winter (May to September) can be difficult. Extreme care is needed as freezing temperatures mean the road can ice over in shaded places. During the winter it is mandatory to carry snow chains in your vehicle as the road can sometimes be covered in snow. These are available for hire from petrol stations in Te Anau and Queenstown.
If you are not confident about driving in winter conditions then take a Real Journeys coach to Milford Sound and relax and take in the stunning scenery.
What happens if the weather changes and we can’t fly out from Milford?
Your travel agent or the outlet where you purchased your Milford Sound trip will refund the flight component of your ticket. You will return to Queenstown by coach.
What is the difference between a sound and a fiord?
Throughout Fiordland the fiords are officially mapped as sounds. Strictly speaking, they should be called fiords.
A fiord is a glaciated valley - typically narrow and steep-sided - that has been flooded by the sea after the glacier’s retreat. A sound, on the other hand, is a river valley flooded by the sea following a rise in sea levels or depression of the land, or a combination of both.