Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on our leisurely Nature Cruise. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative and more relaxed, a Nature Cruise is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.
This Nature Cruise is currently not operating. To experience Milford Sound this winter see our Milford Sound Winter Cruise >
Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with our leisurely Nature Cruise day tour. 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 move in close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and, in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our Nature Cruises have a flexible, extended itinerary that gives you plenty of time to appreciate the scenery and take in the highlights. 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, a Nature Cruise is the perfect way to experience what’s been called the “eighth wonder of the world”.
Things you should know
The journey to Milford Sound is just as remarkable as the destination itself, whether you arrive by road or by air.
Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau. We have specially designed luxury coaches that can get you there from both these towns or if you prefer we can get you there on one of our scenic flights. You could also drive yourself to Milford.
The best way to enjoy the Milford Road, one of the world’s finest alpine roads without having to worry about the often tricky driving conditions, is on one of our coaches. Our experienced drivers know all the right places to stop and take in the magnificent views of the Milford Road. Along the way, they will provide you with informative commentary about the region, its history and natural surroundings.
Our flights and buses connect with our cruises.
If you decide to self-drive, do 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.
Adult $35, Child $35 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
For Milford Sound day coach tours departing Queenstown and 7.30am from Te Anau, we offer an upgrade to Premium Package. Not suitable for infants. This applies to the coach portion of your trip only and includes: Seating in the first two rows (max. 8 seats) of the coach plus Real Journeys branded travel pack with: bottled water (500ml), Okarito insect repellent spray, sunscreen, rain poncho, tissues & boiled sweets. Subject to availability.
Adult $21, Child $21 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
Presented in an individual box: includes freshly-made cold meat & salad sandwich, cheese & crackers, nut snack, potato chips, biscuit, small chocolate bar and piece of seasonal fruit. Complimentary tea, coffee and water.
For 'Fly/Cruise/Fly' trips and 'FREE Picnic Lunch' promotions - just select a Picnic Lunch during the booking process and the amount will be deducted prior to final payment.
Adult $21, Child $21 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
Presented in an individual box: includes freshly-made sandwich, cheese & crackers, nut snack, potato chips, biscuit, small chocolate bar and piece of seasonal fruit. Complimentary tea, coffee and water.
For 'Fly/Cruise/Fly' trips and 'FREE Picnic Lunch' promotions - just select a Picnic Lunch during the booking process and the amount will be deducted prior to final payment.
Adult $40, Child $40 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
Attractively presented in a Japanese style lunch box containing: Salmon & avocado maki, cucumber sushi, ebi prawn, inari sushi, miso salmon, ponzu, kumara, teriyaki chicken, daikon & wakami salad, rice, furikake & miso soup. Fruit and Pure New Zealand Ice Cream.
Adult $34, Child $34 (1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020)
Available on selected departures. A selection of Indian dishes: Spring rolls, Samosas, Onion Salad with Lettuce, Dal, Vegetable Curry, Rice, Poppadoms, Mango Pickle, Fruit Selection, Plain Yoghurt, Ice cream, Apple, Complimentary Tea and Coffee.
Please note: If you require a vegetarian lunch, or have any special dietary needs please add this into the comments box during the booking process. You can order any of the lunch options when you make your booking. Menus are indicative only.
Non-slip shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, warm sweater/fleece jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses, insect repellent and camera.Book
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
"I always go with Real Journeys, they really know their stuff and the staff are always so knowledgeable and friendly. This tour was perfect: not too many people, perfect length of time, the lunch option is reasonable and the coach is brilliant."
The popular origin of why Milford Sound was called Piopiotahi by local Maori was that it came from a native bird, the piopio, now thought extinct.
Legend has it that when mythical adventurer Māui died, a single piopio flew to the sound in mourning.
16 June 2019
Real journeys nature cruise at 10:30 am was pretty much the best deal on Milford. The best ships from all of those sailing here & I assume their service cannot get any better. Staff on board was really great looking after all of the guest to 5 star standard. Had food on board which was a really good deal and very much valuable for the money spent. They have taken really good efforts to ensure guests on board are given a memorable time. Highly recommend this tour to all those going to Milford sounds. Keep at least 15 mins time to park and walk to the pier as it’s a bit of a distance here.
3 June 2019
Thought about driving ourselves there from Queenstown to catch the boat - so very glad we didn't! The bus-trip there was amazing also. Bus guide Chris was an excellent driver/guide.. with a great knowledge of the area, NZ, the history and so-on. His commentary was excellent and he's a credit to Real Journeys. Everything is so well organised! Cab picked us up at our Hotel as part of the package. Bus trip there was excellent with Chris and the glass-topped roof great for views. Stops were the perfect number and amount of time. The ship was great and the staff onboard great too. The milford is amazing - tick that off our bucketlist. If you're from NZ - get out and do it.. it's right in our own country and one of the wonders of the world! Long day - but well worth it. No wonder the tourists all rave about the fiords!
18 April 2019
We went on the one day Milford cruise from Queenstown. Everything was excellent. The drive was long but not stressful. The driver was very calm, informative and welcoming. We stopped at several points along the way to stretch our legs and take pictures of the beautiful surroundings. The cruise itself was great - waterfalls, dolphins, fur seals. The lunch that you can purchase on the cruise was also very good. Recommend!
4 April 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Milford Sound with Real Journeys. I was less than excited to tour in the rain, but it turned out to be an absolutely stunning display of nature. If you can take the tour in the rain, do it! We saw countless waterfalls on our drive from Te Anau down to the cruise dock. The cruise itself was very informative and our children loved stepping outside onto the windy boat decks to see the waterfalls. There were plenty of snack/food options, as well. Great choice!
15 March 2019
We took the Real Journeys Nature Cruise / Bus Tour departing from Te Anau. Wow. The bus is not your average tour bus, featuring a glass rooftop for prime views, comfortable seats, and USB chargers. The stops along the way were beautiful, and it wasn’t painful, as bus journeys can be. Once in the sound, we took a cruise, enjoying stunning views of the peaks, and even some juvenile seals. This was a definite highlight of the South Island for my husband and me.
15 March 2019
We boarded a Real Journeys bus at their office in downtown Queenstown in the early morning for a 5 or so hour trip to Millford Sound, Dean, our driver, was excellent and knowledgeable. We bought the upgraded package which provided seats in the front row of the bus, a bag of goodies and lunch upon arrival at the sound. The scenery along the way was incredible and more of the same on a two hour boat ride to the mouth of the sound and back. We were fortunate to have sunny weather as it rains 200 days a year there. Rain wouldn't necessarily be bad as it would just make the numerous waterfalls more spectacular. Take a poncho or some kind of rain gear to be safe. If the weather is good, it will be safe on the bus.
22 February 2019
An excellent day! We were picked up at our hotel in a van and taken to a larger bus for the two hour drive to Milford Sound. Along the way our driver Barry, narrated interesting and informative facts and stories about the land formations, flora and fauna. He was very knowledgeable about the region. Arrived and went out into the Sound for an awesome ride in the rain. Beautiful scenery, our captain nudged the ship into a waterfall which totally soaked those of us on the deck - fantastic! We really enjoyed ourselves. A knowledgeable narrator was excellent and answered our questions. Bring rain gear and dress appropriately - some people in shorts and flip flops regretted their choice of attire.
6 February 2019
We didn't fancy the drive and decided to take a RJ coach. Definitely the right decision as it is a long drive. Instead we got to sit back and enjoy the journey and informative plus amusing commentary from our driver. The coach was very clean with charging points to for your electronics. The seats were comfortable and reclined. The driver allowed us photo stops and food and toilet breaks on the way out. Just one toilet break on the way back, which was adequate as most people were snoozing. The boat journey at Milford sound was great and we got to see dolphins and seals. The captain expertly managed to get the ship under a waterfall to give a good drenching to those who wanted one. The scenery at the sound and on the journey was stunning, this seems to be the case wherever you go in NZ. Great trip.
8 January 2019
I would recommend the 135 minute cruise at 10.30am. It was very interesting and enjoyable taking us past cliffs, waterfalls and fir seals until the entrance of the fjord, where we had the delight of a brief appearance of some dolphins. This particular outing comes with a naturalist whose commentary added to the enjoyment and who did a great job in spotting the dolphins. At the right season you might also see penguins. It might even be sunny, though at least we did see the top of all the nearby mountains and it remained dry in one of the wettest spots in New Zealand. Not to be missed.
21 November 2018
Well worth the long journey, if you get the chance. I recommend getting a bus from Te Anau because the road can be challenging for tourists and there is only limited parking available once you arrive at Milford Sound. Only busses are allowed to park near the boat harbour, so if you are in a car or camper van, be prepared to do some walking. I also recommend the cruise with Real Journeys. Their boats are very large, quiet and comfortable and the commentary is excellent.
22 November 2018
Beautiful, awe-inspiring scenery. Close views of wildlife. Informative commentary. Did the nature cruise with Real Journeys including a bus pick up which allowed us both to enjoy the spectacular journey from Te Anau.
18 September 2018
You never really know what the weather is going to be like in Milford Sound until you're there so, with a forecast of rain, we kept our fingers crossed. We had rain, fog, mist, sunshine - all seasons in one day - but it created an amazing atmosphere of a brooding mystical landscape. No issues with the travel - on time and all arrivals and departures without issue. A comfortable bus, a pleasing lunch box, excellent commentary and a good sized boat (Mariner - nature cruise) that provided plenty of great vantage points over three levels for those award winning pics, all contributed to the great experience. It's a fair drive from Queenstown so much happier to have some who knows those roads well do the driving. Highly recommended.
8 August 2018
From the early morning start until the seven pm return to our Hotel the day was perfect. While the drive from Queenstown to Milford is fairly long it was through some of the most beautify countryside. The scenery is spectacular with the snow covered mountains and beautiful lakes. We chose the nature cruise which had a very informative guide to point out and explain the Fjord in detail. Milford sound is amazing with its steep rocky cliffs and abundant water falls. Real journeys organised everything perfectly and our bus driver "Brian" was the perfect driver/guide.
31 July 2018
The highlight of our NZ trip. Our driver/guide Chris was knowledgeable and professional. The views were spectacular. We were hungry by the time we were on the cruise so we were happy to have pre-ordered lunch. We sat outside despite the brisk wind to enjoy the full magnitude of Milford Sound. Long, quiet drive back but so worth the journey!!
30 July 2018
Special thanks to the nature guide and staff at Real Journeys for giving us a breath taking experience in Milford sound. The food was great, scenery was beyond expectations and overall we had an amazing trip, will be heading home with some amazing photography!
8 July 2018
This company is a bit more expensive than some other options, but it is so worth it because of the great buses they have (after all, it is a five hour drive one way and the difference the windows in the ceilings (!) also make once you enter the park with its high mountains is huge). The guide was also very knowledgeable and entertaining.
I took the option with flying back and WOW am I happy that I did. I got to see beautiful Milford Sound from a bus, a cruise boat and from the air. It was just great - definitely one of the highlights of my tour around New Zealand.
12 June 2018
We opted to go by coach to milford sound allowing us some down time from driving. I was very nervous about this decision as I like to free form and generally hate tours. I have to say in this instance, it was well worth it.
Our driver was full of information during the drive that was not only educational but said with that perfect kiwi humour to make it entertaining as well. While I did struggle with the "everyone off the bus", "everyone on the bus" style of touring, the group did move fast and there are certainly some things I would have missed on a self drive.
We chose the nature cruise and were thrilled to stand on the bow of the Milford Mariner for the duration of our cruise, embracing all we could in the scenery. Again the guides spoke just often enough to provide fabulous information but allowed quiet time to just absorb what we were seeing.
The bus drive home was nice and fast and allowed most of us to snooze. It is certainly a long day, but I believe it would have felt much longer as a self drive experience. Well worth the journey.
18 May 2018
I did the real journeys nature cruise of Milford Sound. A 2hr cruise packed full with information about the history of the sound. There is an optional picnic box lunch which was worth the value....plenty of snacks, a piece of fruit, sandwich and a bottle of water, free tea and coffee was also available.
The ship went right up to a couple of waterfalls which was great to get a close up view. It was a lovely sunny day the day I was there but still chilly.....make sure you take layers!
16 April 2018
The Real Journeys team have absolutely superb coaches for this sort of tour.... glass roofed, with seats that are staggered (like in a theatre, so you can see over the people in front) and the seats are angled towards the windows, so you don't get neck ache. They are the best coaches I have ever been on, because they are superbly comfortable..... just what you need for the journey from Queenstown to Milford sound which is long. The trip is a must do as the scenery around Fjordland is stunning and if you are planning on doing it, then it's worth booking with these people.
10 April 2018
Travelled on the Milford Mariner on the nature cruise as it was a longer cruise than others. A stunning location with incredible sights. Free tea and coffee on the cruise. Not crowded (April). Easy to book on line and checkin is simple. Nice relaxed cruising on the Sound and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
21 March 2018
Even though it was pouring with rain all the way to and all the way back, the sun shone in Milford Sound. We travelled in a comfortable, air conditioned coach. We were promptly collected by taxi organised by Real Journeys from our hotel at 7.05am! And the tour started at 7.15am from the Real Journeys Office in town. Barry our driver was locally born in Queenstown and he imparted his knowledge of the countryside, fauna and flora, as we travelled through impeccably. The boat tour was exciting and very enjoyable, gourmet lunch box was just right. We had a number of comfort and photo stops on the way to MS. Barry was an excellent driver in the rainy conditions and was smiles all the way, a credit to Real Journeys. All the staff we interacted with from Office to boat were all friendly and helpful. When we arrived back in town at 20.20 a taxi was arranged promptly by RJ to get us back to our hotel. Well done to Barry and Real Journeys - you did yourselves proud!!
15 March 2018
Unfortunately the weather was quite misty for the trip, which meant the visibility wasn’t as good as it would have been on a good day. However it didn’t spoil our day. Curls, our coach driver was excellent with lots of interesting information from pickup to drop off. Her knowledge was amazing. The packed lunch on the boat was very good, as were the staff and Melissa as nature guide was excellent. The experience on board was extremely good, allowing us to take close up photographs of waterfalls etc. We were lucky enough to see several dolphins and Melissa was quick to point out anything interesting. I would highly recommend using this company.
5 March 2018
My husband and I really enjoyed the nature cruise. The sheer size of the mountains just cannot he captured in a photo! We saw fur seals and got up nice and close to the waterfalls. Wear a waterproof jacket as you get so close you will get wet.
29 January 2018
This boat cruise was much more fun than I had expected. Two to three-hour cruise with lunch and the chance to photograph 100's, yes hundreds of waterfalls that feel 200 to 400 feet all around the Sound. Outstanding to say the least! Huge help that it rained the previous day and filled up the lakes and streams at the top of the mountains around the Sound, hence the large number of beautiful waterfalls. Plus got to take pictures of seals laying out on a nearby rock. Wow, did not expect a tour, boat ride, pictures, lunch that was this outstanding. Suggest you make reservations and not to miss it!!
28 January 2018
We took the 7:15 coach trip to Milford on a beautiful hot and sunny day. The bus driver was great with regular scenic stops and lots of pieces of information about the area. The 2hr 15min nature cruise was the perfect amount of time to get up close with the sound. We even saw seals and dolphins and were kept entertained by the guide. Be warned it is an extremely long day getting back to Queenstown at about 8pm but worth it.
22 January 2018
We went on the Milford Sound Nature Cruise which was one of the best experiences we have had in New Zealand between the scenery and knowledge of our nature guide!
We were lucky enough to have rain overnight and then a very clear day with few clouds or wind, to say the least it was perfect! I took so many photos my phone filled up! Great information and some amazing experiences such as driving underneath a waterfall! I would highly recommend this for the beauty, information and highlights along the way. One of the best parts is that the cruise was not jam packed full of people so you could get around easily and see everything that the cruise had in store!
2 December 2017
We visited Milford Sound late November 2017 and drove ourselves into real journeys cruise departure point at Milford. The drive was spectacular and we left plenty of time for stops on the way from Te Anu by booking an afternoon cruise. The cruise itself departed on time, was nicely commentated and provided plenty of space to move about the vessel. The scenery is unique and clearly the highlight.
19 November 2017
Booked the fly-cruise-fly option for Milford Sound. Wife and son bit nervous as we had never been in such a small plane (7 seater) but the pilot, Megan, was superb and really put them at ease. Flight was smooth, just a bit of turbulence, and Megan was brilliant at pointing out places of interest as we flew over (or next to) them. Cruise was informative and we saw both dolphins and seals. Flight back by a different loop was just as good as the one out. A really superb trip, well worth the time and money.
22 August 2017
We were really impressed with our Nature tour around Milford sound. The coach was very comfortable which is essential for a long journey. The driver gave an excellent commentary of the area and history of various places and the cruise around Milford was superb. We were lucky with the weather and it was just stunning! The lunch was great and really impressed they were able to safely cater for people who have Coeliac Disease! Long day-but very worth it!
17 June 2017
My friend and I travelled to Milford Sound with Brian - a brilliant and entertaining guide. We were very lucky with the weather - beautiful sunshine on a winters day. The scenery, both on the coach tour and the boat, was breathtaking. A definite must do if you're visiting Queenstown.
16 June 2017
We took the bus tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound, and then got on the boat in Milford. Our bus driver was so entertaining as he shared interesting info and history along the way to the sound. We stopped several times along the way at places of interest for photo opportunities. Once on the boat, we again learned more and had a great time! We ordered the lunch ahead of time, and were glad we did. We also enjoyed a cold beer on board. Milford Sound is absolutely breathtaking. We had an option to fly back to Qtown for an additional fee, but chose to take the bus back so we could enjoy the beautiful scenery again. I am really glad we chose Real Journeys. They also offered a free taxi to and from our house. We will use this company again!
27 May 2017
Real Journeys is one of the best companies in New Zealand to experience the eighth wonder of the World. Pure class by the family owned company. One of the best buses in New Zealand with good comfort. Well planned trip with a good lunch box. Proper stops taken to view places on the way to Milford. The cruise is amazing and the entire trip is worth it. The staff is very friendly and helps you in the best way possible. The commentator Thomas gives you proper information and also keeps you entertained while your entire trip on the cruise. Real journeys is a best way to experience the NZ must do activity.
14 July 2016
I always go with Real Journeys, they really know their stuff and the staff are always so knowledgeable and friendly. This tour was perfect: not too many people, perfect length of time, the lunch option is reasonable and the coach is brilliant. The coach is something like 60% glass so you can see all the tops of the mountains as you drive through! It really makes a difference to the journey as you just get that extra view. Would highly recommend to anyone! We had a sunny day too which was lucky, but we still got to see the seals and waterfalls.
Visited July 2016
24 June 2016
We took the two kids (7 and 4) on this cruise today. What a fantastic day. The crew were really engaging, the skipper and the guide both took the time to make the kids feel special.
The tour itself was amazing. Getting up close and personal to the trees, waterfalls, huge cliffs, young seals. Just great. I challenge you to find another boat tour on Milford Sound where you can touch the leaves on the trees from the bow of the boat while being told about them and where you can need a change of clothes because you were under a waterfall on that same bow.
Thanks to Kendra and Danielle for making this one of the best parts of our trip to New Zealand.
5 May 2016
This was one of the highlights of our trip (although there are many!) we saw Milford sound in all its natural splendor. We'd heard it was stunning and it didn't disappoint. Our on board MC was very informative and knowledgeable about the formation and age of the rocks. Captain even took us right up close to the waterfall! A day I won't forget aboard a lovely vintage vessel.
10 April 2016
I've just visited Milford Sound for the 2nd or 3rd time (not 100% sure which) and it is amazing as always. The scenery both driving from Te Anau and then out on the Sound itself is just phenomenal and leaves you in no doubt as to why people keep choosing it as a filming location for big budget movies (or small budget movies for that matter). We did the Nature Cruise with Real Journeys and this was excellent. Quality vessel with personable and knowledgeable staff/commentary. We also did the Milford Discovery Center (see separate review). This trip is an all-weather experience. If it's wet you get the ethereal atmosphere and the waterfalls and if it's dry you see a bit more of the peaks. Either way is stunning so this is a win-win and I would advise would-be Milford travellers not to get too hung up on the weather forecasts. All you need to know/worry about is that if it's not safe the boat wont go out...simple as that.
Visited April 2016
6 March 2016
We caught the bus from Queenstown at 7-15am for the 300km trip to Milford sound. Our bus driver was Barry who gave us a running commentary during the trip, not only was Barry a very good bus driver, his commentary was informative and humorous. He stopped at all the top spots for photographs and still managed to keep us on time for our cruise once we got to Milford Sound.
Our cruise was amazing, if you only go to one place in your life, make it Milford Sound. When the boat noses into the Stirling falls, get a place right up the front, yes you get wet but the photographs are amazing.
Recommend you order lunch when you book (much easier) Picnic lunch consisted of a club sandwich, fruit, drink and snacks which was fresh and tasty. Make sure the ticket your driver gives you for the cruise says "Picnic Lunch" or you may miss out, luckily we had a voucher from our travel agent showing we had paid for lunch and it got sorted very quickly.
It is a long day, we got back to our hotel at 8-30pm, so take some snacks for the trip.
5 March 2016
We are really happy we chose the nature cruise with real journey and their big comfortable boat. At the start, we didn't know whether we would prefer a smaller boat with another company. So, Yes it is a big boat, and yes there are 190 pax onboard. But it didn't felt overcrowded at all, there's plenty of space. We actually board the last ones and doing a great place to sit, no need to rush. And we were actually very glad to be on a large boat, for the water conditions in the Fjord, even if we were really lucky with the perfect weather that day.
The Nature cruise was great, and the speech we had was excellent. The real journey guide explained about the Fjord, it's geology, fauna and flora, its discovery, etc... in a very interesting way. We recommend!
The Scenic and Nature Cruises follow the same route in Milford Sound. The Scenic Cruises have multi-lingual commentary on selected departures, a wide range of lunch options, large viewing decks on comfortable modern vessels and are shorter (1hr 30-40mins) than the Nature Cruises (2hrs - 2hrs 15mins). The Nature Cruises have English-only commentary, and an on-board nature guide, picnic lunches and smaller vessels (predominantly designed along the lines of traditional trading scows).
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.
There are free and paid car parking options at Milford Sound. 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 and costs $10 per hour - this is a barrier-less licence plate recognition system. Parking in Deepwater Basin is free and is approx. a 25 minute walk from the terminal. A shuttle bus runs approx. every 20 minutes between the Deepwater Basin car park and the terminal. Please allow extra time if you wish to use this car park.
A Milford Sound Levy of NZ$10.50 per adult is included in the price displayed on our website. For more information, see the Milford Sound Tourism website.
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:
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.
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.
If you have booked a coach and cruise to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound our buses pick up from most accommodation in Queenstown and Te Anau. When booking either from our website or directly with our staff, please let us know if you want to be picked up from your accommodation or from our Visitor Centre.
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.
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.
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.
Where can we securely park our car / campervan in Te Anau whilst we are going to Milford or Doubtful Sound?
Whilst parking in and around Te Anau is safe, we cannot guarantee this. 'Safer Parking' offers paid secure day-night parking for customers who wish to ensure their valuables are safe. Please visit the Safer Parking website to find out more details for rates, information, etc. Real Journeys buses do collect customers from Safer Parking - simply select this option when booking your excursion from Te Anau.
We operate round trip combined 'coach & Milford Sound cruise' excursions departing Te Anau & Queenstown. However if you want to depart Queenstown and return to Te Anau (or depart Te Anau and return to Queenstown), then please contact us directly email@example.com as these trips are NOT bookable on the Real Journeys website.
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.