For breathtaking, awe-inspiring scenery take a Milford Sound cruise and enjoy spacious decks, relaxing lounges and a variety of delicious on-board lunch choices. Make the most of Milford Sound from the comfort of our modern vessels.
Good things take time. The 1.29 km (0.75 miles) Homer Tunnel was started in 1935, but due to the outbreak of World War ll, was not completed until 1953.
It began with just five men using picks and wheelbarrows.
Our Scenic Cruise vessels have purpose-built observation lounges and large decks. From here you’ll see just what makes the New Zealand landscape so incredible – the sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls, glaciers and rainforest. Keen eyes may observe seals basking on the rocks or the local pod of dolphins streaking through the Sound.
During your Milford Sound cruise, our crew provide commentaries in several languages. They’ll make sure you don’t miss the sightseeing highlights, including Mitre Peak and the Pembroke Glacier.
As Milford Sound drifts by, treat yourself to one of our delicious lunch options – from an Indian Lunch box to a international buffet, freshly prepared on board by our chefs.
As a day trip from Queenstown or Te Anau there’s nothing that competes. So get ready to sit back and relax with a truly unforgettable Milford Sound experience.
The journey to Milford Sound is just as spectacular as the destination itself, whether you travel by road or by air. Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau by road.
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. Travel the spectacular Milford Road in comfort and style in one of our glass-roofed coaches and take it all in. Absorb your surroundings as you listen to the fun and fact-filled commentary from the driver and they know all the right places to stop and take in the magnificent views of the Milford Road.
If you prefer we can get you there on one of our scenic flights.
All of our flights and coaches connect with our cruises. We can also organise helicopter flight connections if preferred.
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 $29, Child $29 (1 Oct 2016 - 30 Sep 2018)
Adult $30, Child $30 (1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2019)
For Milford Sound day coach tours departing Queenstown and 8am 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 $37, Child $37 (1 Oct 2017 - 30 Sep 2018)
Adult $39, Child $39 (1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2019)
A selection of hot and cold dishes freshly prepared on board by our chefs. Includes steamed South Island fish, Green Lip Mussels, Chicken dish, Southland Beef (or Venison Dish), Cardrona Merino Lamb, stir-fried noodle dish, steamed dumplings (or steamed buns), traditional Korean Kimchi, steamed seasonal greens, stir-fried seasonal greens, steamed rice, 2 seasonal salads, selection of sauces and condiments. With New Zealand local fresh fruit and Pure New Zealand Ice Cream. Complimentary Tea and Coffee.
Adult $19, Child $19 (1 Oct 2017 - 30 Sep 2018)
Adult $20, Child $20 (1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2019)
Attractively presented in an individual box: includes freshly-made cold meat & salad sandwich, cheese & crackers, olives, nut snack, biscuit, small chocolate bar, piece of seasonal fruit and mineral water. Complimentary Tea and Coffee.
For Fly/Cruise/Fly trips ONLY, Picnic Lunch included. Just select a Picnic Lunch during the booking process and the amount will be deducted prior to final payment.
Adult $37, Child $37 (1 Oct 2017 - 30 Sep 2018)
Adult $39, Child $39 (1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2019)
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 $31, Child $31 (1 Oct 2017 - 30 Sep 2018)
Adult $33, Child $33 (1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2019)
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.
Welsh sealer, John Grono, originally named the sound after his birthplace, Milford Haven.
Another sealer, Donald Sutherland was responsible for building the three thatched huts known as the 'City of Milford' and, in 1890, cutting the Milford Track through the bush.
It’s thought the Maori used the Milford Track to collect pounamu – greenstone – an indigenous jade used in tools and jewellery, and passed on the route from generation to generation.
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).
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 road (coach or car) or by 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 travel to Doubtful Sound visitors first take a launch trip across Lake Manapouri and coach over Wilmot Pass.
Visitors with enough time choose to experience both fiords as they have different characters.
If you are travelling from Queenstown it will take around 5hrs to reach Milford. Te Anau to Milford is around 2hrs 20mins. 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 information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
There is FREE car parking at Milford Sound. Please allow up to 45 minutes to park your vehicle and transfer to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, where you check in for your cruise. Check in is required 20 minutes prior to departure.
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 board the coach or vessel this landscape is spectacular.
If you have booked a coach and cruise to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound our coaches 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.
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 coaches do collect customers from Safer Parking - simply select this option when booking your excursion from Te Anau.
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 enjoy 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on board each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• Real Journeys Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff).