Experience Milford Sound from sea level with an experienced guide and a small group of kayakers.
Join us for a fun, relaxed and intimate experience of this majestic fiord. Paddling here is awesome, whatever the weather and whatever your previous paddling experience (or lack of it!).
You’ll enjoy 4 – 5 hours on the water with the freedom to explore the fiord, check out the wildlife (seals and occasionally penguins and dolphins) and marvel at the natural wonders of Mitre Peak, Pembroke Glacier and thundering waterfalls.
Weather permitting, we’ll stop for lunch on a secluded beach. If an afternoon breeze comes up, we’ll raft our kayaks together and sail home.
You can join us at Te Anau, The Divide (Routeburn Track road end) or in Milford Sound. Travelling with us along the Milford Road is definitely part of the experience - we'll provide good kiwi music and tell stories, have afternoon tea and stop at our favourite places.
Small groups – maximum of 8 people per guide
Experienced kayak guides – who carry all the safety and emergency equipment, make all safety decisions, provide paddling advice and a comprehensive safety briefing
High-quality kayaking gear – view the full list of "What we provide" - see "More Info"
Competence in water and moderate fitness required
Minimum age 16 years
No paddling experience needed although energy, enthusiasm and a sense of humour all help
Te Anau coach connections available (pick-ups from most accommodation) – extra cost
Delicious picnic lunch available, if pre-ordered – extra cost
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.
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Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau (the nearest town).
You can drive yourself to Milford Sound or alternatively you can join us in Te Anau or at The Divide (Routeburn Track road end). Just select the option that works for you when making the booking.
What to bring
Kayaking within this designated world heritage area is unbeatable - but often encounters a huge variety of weather. Here’s a list of things you need to bring along with you to make sure you’re suitably equipped for your trip:
Swimsuit or underwear (for wearing under wetsuit)
Plastic bag for wet gear
Soft shoes or sandals (note they will get wet)
Sunblock / Sun hat / Sun glasses / Insect repellent
Camera (disposable or waterproof)
Change of clothes, socks, footwear and rain jacket for wearing after kayaking
Lunch food – Note: Picnic lunches are available to purchase, if pre-ordered (extra cost).
What we provide
Thermal top and leggings
Wetsuit vest, fleece top and hat and Pogies (paddling gloves)
Paddle jacket & Spray deck
Life jacket (buoyancy vest)
Dry bags (for your clothing and camera)
Double kayaks / paddles
Group safety and emergency gear
What to wear when kayaking
Please wear your swimsuit or kayaking underwear layer beneath warm clothes/waterproof jacket on pick-up (makes changing into paddling gear easier and quicker). The best way to carry your other gear to the launch point is in a backpack.
Safety & Risk
Sea kayaking has inherent risks and can be dangerous. In Fiordland, they are characterised by: remoteness, rapidly changing and sometimes extreme weather and water conditions, cold water and limited kayaking landing sites.
Detailed risk management and strict safety procedures are observed, however, there still remains an element of risk. Sea Kayak Fiordland cannot absolutely guarantee participants safety. Sea Kayak Fiordland accepts its legal responsibilities but cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for loss, theft or damage of/to your equipment outside legal responsibilities. Participants will be required to sign a liability form to this effect before starting a tour.
Changing conditions can mean that tours have to be modified. No two tours are the same. It is very rare but weather could delay your scheduled return by up to 24 hours e.g. road closures or weather conditions preventing kayaking. Clients on guided tours must listen carefully to and follow guides' instructions and adhere to safety requirements. Our reputation depends on your safety – we give it top priority and take it seriously.
Adult $18, Child $18 (1 Oct 2016 - 30 Sep 2017)
Attractively presented in individual boxes containing: Ham & Egg Sandwich, Cheese and Crackers, Piece of Fruit – Fresh Fruit of the season, Biscuit, Dried Fruit, Muesli Bar, Juice Drink, 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.
Bottlenose dolphins are often seen in Milford Sound, their acrobatic nature and social curiosity making them easy to spot. It is said there are up to 60 dolphins in the sound.
You may see other species too – the Common and Dusky dolphin can also make these waters home.
Did You Know?
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.
Stage 1: The Journey to Milford Sound from Te Anau
We leave Te Anau early meeting you at your accommodation or the DOC long term carpark.
We travel the Milford Road, 120 kms along New Zealand's most spectacular alpine road, through the Eglinton Valley, past the Divide, into the mountains, through the Homer tunnel, down into the steep-sided Cleddau valley. We entertain you with history of the area, explaining the conservation issues, providing hot drinks and 'bikkies'.
If we can't kayak due to deteriorating weather, the kayaking is replaced by a launch cruise and we extend the nature tour home.
Stage 2: Preparing for Sea Kayaking
We meet up with those joining us in Milford Sound (meeting at Deep Water Basin car park. If you're driving, just turn left into Deep Water Basin Road and drive to the end).
We change into our kayaking gear, complete a safety briefing and setting up the kayaks.
Stage 3: The Sea Kayaking... Up Close & Personal
Weather permitting, our aim is to start kayaking beneath dramatic sheer cliffs, with classic views of Mitre Peak and the cascading waterfalls.
We hope to encounter friendly fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins, sometimes playful dolphins.
For lunch, weather permitting, we will stop on a secluded beach to enjoy a hot drink and biscuits. Bring your own lunch or order from us ($18).
We begin the paddle back to Deepwater Basin. Back on shore, we change back into dry clothes and pack up the kayaking gear.
Stage 4: The Journey Home
A look around Milford Village, another hot drink, we begin the journey home with scenic stops, short walks, good NZ music and some well earned rest time. If you are then completing the Routeburn Track, we can drop you off at the Divide. We return back to Te Anau about 6.00pm.