Welcome to Milford Sound


In truth, it’s the action of glaciers that carved these razor-edge cliffs. Scoured into the bare rock are pathways from tree avalanches, where entangled roots dragged whole forests down into darkly glittering water. When rain comes (and that’s often), dozens of temporary waterfalls curtain the cliffs. Stirling and Lady Bowen Falls gush on in fine weather, with rainbows bouncing from their mists when sunlight strikes just right.

By 2019, Milford Sound will receive an estimated one million annual visitors – an almighty challenge to keep its beauty pristine. But out on the water, all human activity – cruise ships, divers, kayakers – seems dwarfed into insignificance.


Top experiences in Milford Sound

Travel guides

Starting at $36.39

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Milford Sound activities

$159.91 Day Trips & Excursions

Milford Sound 12.5-Hour Coach Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

Take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. You'll experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory – surrounded by dense rainforest, glacier-carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls. Leaving Queenstown, travel in comfort along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island. After a morning tea stop (own expense), travel along the lake and into Fiordland National Park. Enter the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand, and take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes, where on a calm day the surrounding mountain ranges are perfectly reflected in the still waters, and Knobs Flat, where glaciers have carved their mark on the terrain. Your glass-roof coach will provide amazing views of the dramatic skyline as you cross the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, with stunning mountain peaks all around. Stop at Monkey Creek and sample some of the purest water in the world (but watch out for cheeky kea - native mountain parrots!). Travel under the mountains through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, then experience The Chasm, a short but impressive walk over footbridges spanning a series of powerful, swirling waterfalls and rapids. At Milford Sound, board your 1 hour 45 minute cruise and travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble into the sea. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while wildlife including seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. Your cruise will take place on the newest and most luxurious cruise ship in Milford Sound. This impressive three-level catamaran has extensive outdoor decks so you can get up close to nature. Inside you'll find comfortable seating as well as unique glass roofs and HD screens projecting live outdoor footage, so you won't miss a thing. A gourmet buffet lunch featuring fresh local ingredients will be served on board (included in your tour). Along the way your captain will provide lively and informative commentary. Translation sheets are provided in Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Korean and Mandarin.

$63.30 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Milford Sound Sightseeing Cruise

With more than 40 years combined working experience in Milford Sound your guides guarantee an outstanding experience you will never forget. The boat is surveyed for 150 passengers but your host endeavors to cap numbers at half the capacity for an enhanced viewing experience. Their upper cabin is fitted out with luxury lounge style sofas facing outwards. Relax with complimentary coffee, tea and biscuits and enjoy the skipper’s commentary (English only) while marveling at the breath-taking scenery. The smaller size of the vessel enables you to get closer views of the local wildlife like NZ Fur Seals, dolphins and the very rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.The cruise travels the full length of the fiord. You are guaranteed to come across some photogenic moments to capture and keep forever. Enjoy some complimentary snacks and coffee on board while you're at it!

$49.31 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour

Relax in comfort with panoramic views of the magnificent scenery of Fiordland National Park, the biggest national park in New Zealand, where Milford Sound is located on board your Milford Sound Cruise. Join the longest cruise in Milford Sound with an onboard nature guide providing engaging and informative commentary of the local wildlife, flora, fauna and history of the area. Your cruise includes a 30-minute stop at the Milford Sound Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, which is only accessible by boat. Disembark and browse exhibits that detail the history, geology and wildlife of Milford Sound. Then descend 33 feet (10m) into New Zealand’s only underwater observatory, where you can see rare black coral, butterfly perch, blue cod and other marine critters that thrive in the waters of Milford Sound. After taking in the underwater world, get back on your boat to resume your cruise, taking in 360-degree views as you glide along the stunning waterway. Munch on a provided picnic lunch of fresh sandwiches, New Zealand cheese and crackers, biscuits, fruit, and juice. At the end of your Milford Sound boat cruise, return to your starting point at Milford Wharf. Cruise and Kayak Upgrade to include a 1-hour kayak excursion on Milford Sound that takes place near the end of the boat cruise. This is a small-group activity, limited to 16 people, with an experienced nature guide. Slip your kayak into Harrison Cove to glide across crystal-clear water. Gaze at Pembroke Glacier and Harrison Valley as you paddle around the cove. From there, hop back on the boat to head back to the Milford Wharf. You don’t need any previous experience for this kayak tour; all instruction and gear is provided. Don't miss this rare chance to kayak in the breathtaking, peaceful beauty of Milford Sound.

$112.60 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Full-Day Milford Sound Extraordinaire Tour from Te Anau

Your full-day Milford Sound extraordinaire tour begins when you are picked up from your Te Anau or Manapouri accommodation and you get your first views of the South Fiord. Te Anau Downs is the first stop. This sheltered harbour (Bluegum Bay) is opposite the Middle Fiord and the starting point for the famous Milford Track. Then, See the lovely views of the Earl & Livingston Mountains at Eglinton Valley. Mirror Lakes is a 5-minute board walk which takes you through typical beech forest and wetland pools. The reflections from the Earl Mountains are amazing! The 45th South Parallel is the half way point between the Equator & the South Pole. You will then visit Knob’s Flat for a toilet stop and information boards. Last chance to use a telephone! Head to Cascade Creek - A lovely view of Russell lupins in flower, with the Earl Mountains as a backdrop. You will then have a view of Lake Gunn with fantastic reflections on a fine day. The Hollyford Lookout offers spectacular views of the Hollyford Valley and the Darren Mountains. Marian Cascade is an optional 20-minute return walk to a fantastic cascade of glacier fed water that tumbles from Lake Marian. You will then visit Gunn’s Camp - Home baking is part of the famous morning tea stop; just 10-minutes’ drive from the Marian corner. This is an un-spoilt spot in this world heritage park. Enjoy a visit to the historic museum and gift shop. Fall’s Creek offers your first photo of a spectacular permanent waterfall. Monkey Creek allows for 360 degrees of photos, with fantastic views of the Upper Hollyford Valley, with towering 2000+ meter mountains. If time permits, you can take an optional 5 minute walk through subalpine vegetation to a stunning view of the Gertrude Valley. A stop at the east portal of the 1270 meter long Homer Tunnel, at 930 meters above sea level is where you might get a first look at a Kea. (cheeky South Island mountain parrot). The Cleddau Valley has a classic view of the glacier carved valley, as the road winds down, during the last part of the journey to Milford Sound. At The Chasm you will be able to take a 10 minute walk to see the Cleddau River, where it is confined to a 22 meter deep narrow ravine. It continues to carve fascinating formations through diorite rock. This is an easy must do walk. Mt Tutoko is a ‘cameras only’ 1-minute stop at the first view of the highest mountain in Fiordland at 2723 meters. You will then have your last stop before Milford Sound at Tutoko Bridge where there is a spectacular view of the river, with Mt Tutoko as the back drop for a stunning photo. At last you will arrive at Milford Sound. Enjoy a 2-hour cruise on the famous Milford Sound with its towering mountains and thundering waterfalls. This is your chance to see dolphins, seals and the Fiordland crested penguin before you are taken back to your accommodation.

$376.45 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

Your tour starts with pickup at your Queenstown hotel and transfer to the airport, where you meet your professional pilot. After a safety briefing, take your seat and set off to Milford Sound, located within the UNESCO World Heritage–listed regions of Te Wahipounamu and Fiordland National Park. Large picture windows allow for optimal viewing throughout your flight as your pilot provides informative details about the terrain below. Marvel at gorgeous mountain landscapes cut with blue waterways, dusted by snow and framed by dramatic clouds and light.After a gentle landing at the airstrip in Milford Sound, trade your wings for watercraft. Board your boat, which carries a maximum of only 75 people, for a 2.25-hour cruise. The smaller-sized craft (compared to up to 300 passengers, which other Milford Sound cruises accommodate) provides a more intimate experience and allows your captain to get within touching distance of cliffs and waterfalls. You can even taste pure glacier-melt water from the 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls.Expert naturalists aboard your boat share details about the geology of this glacier-carved region and any wildlife that you might see, such as birds, seals, dolphins and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.When booking, you have the option to pre-order a boxed lunch to be served during your cruise (sample menu below); otherwise, purchase a meal or snack from the onboard cafe. Complimentary tea and coffee are available for some liquid warmth as you travel through Milford Sound.You are welcome to visit the captain’s bridge to learn about boat operations firsthand during the return voyage. At the end of your boat tour, enjoy a second chance to soak up the scenery as you fly back to Queenstown.Sample boxed lunch menu (subject to change): Ham and cheese roll Chicken drumstick Seasonal salad with dressing Soup and bread (winter only) Cheese and crackers Packaged biscuit Chocolate bar Juice, tea and coffee

$466.40 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Milford Sound with Flight, Cruise, Jet Boat from Queenstown

You will be notified an hour prior to departure time if the weather is appropriate to proceed. Your complimentary transfer from your Queenstown accommodation will pick you up 5 minutes later. You can drive out to the Hangar as well if you would like.After checking in for the flights you will be taken on a 40-minute scenic plane flight to Milford Sound. You will experience majestic views of the Fiordland National Park including mountains, lakes and fiords.After landing in Milford Sound you will them meet your boat cruise and experience Milford Sound up close while enjoying a full length 2-hour cruise of Milford Sound.Once your cruise finishes you will be then taken to the Milford Sound Airstrip where you will be met by your Aircraft and taken on a 40-minute scenic flight back to Glenorchy.After a short break you will be taken on the Dart River jet boat safari which includes 1-hour on the jet boat, a 30-minute native forest walk and a 4WD coach trip back to Glenorchy. After the safari you will then be taken back to your accommodation on the coach from Glenorchy.

Milford Sound in detail