A Milford Sound boat cruise is the most popular way to experience this magnificent natural wonder. It is a must-do on any trip to New Zealand. A seawater fiord surrounded by towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and abundant native wildlife, it is essential to get out on the waters of the Sound.
There are several great options for boat cruising on Milford Sound with an option to suit everybody. Cruises range from shorter boat trips though to overnight cruises. All cruises depart from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal and offer a variety of options to suit different interests and budgets. This can include a stop at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory.
Here are the main options for taking a day cruise on Milford Sound:
This is a popular day cruise option which lasts around 1hr 45 mins to 2 hours and includes all the popular sights as well as wildlife spotting opportunities. These cruises take you along the entire length of the fiord, giving you ample opportunities to see the towering mountain peaks and waterfalls up close. There is often informative commentary provided about the history and geology of the fiord too.
For those looking for a more intimate experience, smaller boat tours are available that cater to small groups. This offers a more personalised experience, and the boats can navigate into smaller coves that larger boats cannot reach.
A number of operators offer a Milford Sound day cruise that goes a little further. These options often include a visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. This shows visitors life under the waves and the opportunity to see rare black coral.
Overnight cruises are a great way for those who have more time to spend in Milford Sound. You board the boat in the afternoon, allowing more time to explore the fiord. Then you spend the evening and next morning exploring the fiord. These cruises typically include activities such as kayaking and hiking, and provide a more immersive experience of the fiord’s natural beauty.
*Correct for Dec 2023, excluding special deals or discounts
|Sightseeing||Real NZ||2 hrs||08:45, 10:30, 11:00, 13:00, 13:15,15:00||$109 Adult / $49 Child|
|Nature||Southern Discoveries||1 hr 45 mins||09:30, 10:30, 12:15, 13:15, 14:30, 15:30||$125 Adult / $45 Child|
|Discover More||Southern Discoveries||3 hrs||09:30, 10:30, 12:15, 13:15, 14:30||$145 Adult / $75 Child|
|Small Boat||Mitre Peak Cruises||2 hrs||08:50, 09:55, 11:10, 13:30, 15:55||$125 Adult / $45 Child|
|Small Boat||Cruise Milford||1 hr 45 mins||10:45, 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:45||$129 Adult / $69 Child|
|Sightseeing||Jucy Cruise||2 hrs||10:30, 13:00, 15:30||$109 Adult / $49 Child|
Our Opinion: Cruising on Milford Sound is an essential activity for anyone visiting New Zealand’s South Island. It is only up close to the incredible sheer rock cliffs that you can appreciate the scale of this special place. With its breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife, a cruise on Milford Sound is a unique and unforgettable experience that should not be missed.