Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with our leisurely cruise aboard the Milford Haven. 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)
Cafe style lunches and snacks are available for purchase onboard. As part of our Winter Special offer lunch is included in the cruise price until 12 October 2020. Due to level 2 restrictions, the lunch offering has changed from Fish and Chips to a freshly prepared sandwich.
The cruise will be aboard the modern Milford Haven. During the Haven's annual maintenance guests will cruise on the mightly Milford Mariner.
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.
In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.
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How long does it take to travel to Milford Sound?
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 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.
Can you use cameras or videos in the Te Anau Glowworm Caves?
Photography and video cameras are not permitted in the Glowworm Caves because flash lights affect the glowworms and visitor acclimatisation to the dark.
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 conditions like in the caves ?
Inside the caves the temperature is a fairly constant 8 - 12ºCelsius, so bring a warm sweater/fleece jacket. At the entrance to the caves there is a large rock overhang and bending is required to pass this section. There are steps and often the walkways are wet, so care is required in the subdued light.
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 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
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.
Online transactions/prices are conducted in what currency?
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
What happens if there is an emergency ?
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 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).