Welcome to Milford Sound
Sydney Opera House, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower – one's first glimpse of the world's most famous sights can stop you in your tracks and immediately insert a lump in your throat. So it is with Mitre Peak (Rahotu), the spectacular, 1692m-high mountain rising from the dark waters of Milford Sound (Piopiotahi). This image has dominated NZ tourism brochures since Maui was a lad and is one of very few such vistas that is... Read More
Top experiences in Milford Sound
Milford Sound activities
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 up close and personal with 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!
Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown including Scenic Flight
Depart Queenstown and travel by luxury coach along the edge of Lake Wakatipu beneath the rugged Remarkables mountain range on the road to Te Anau, the "Gateway to Fiordland". After a brief morning tea break in Te Anau, enter the Fiordland National Park and prepare to be mesmerized by the grandeur of this region. Pass through the Eglington Valley and see ancient alpine beech forest, stunning waterfalls, and the famous Mirror Lakes. The coach will pause here for photo opportunities.The tour then progresses through the Upper Hollyford Valley, past the stunning Christie Falls and enters the 1.2 kilometer (0.75 miles) long Homer Tunnel, drilled through the solid rock of a mountain. As you exit the Homer Tunnel, prepare yourself for the breathtaking impact of the Cleddau Valley and the descent into Milford Sound.At Milford Sound, embark on a spectacular Milford Sound Scenic Cruise and set off to explore the region. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crash into the sea far below.After your cruise, join your light aircraft for a scenic flight from Milford Sound over the Southern Alps and back to Queenstown (weather permitting). Once in the air discover the sights of some of New Zealand's untouched country as your light plane soars up high and offers a birds eye view before landing in Queenstown, where you will be transferred to your Queenstown accommodation.
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
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.
Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown including Helicopter Flight
After pickup from centrally located Queenstown hotels, your Milford Sound adventure starts with a 5-hour scenic drive by luxury coach, equipped with reclining seats and a glass roof so you can take in the amazing views. Listen to commentary from your driver as you travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau, where you’ll take a break for morning tea (own expense). Then continue along Highway 94 — the ‘Milford Road’ — and admire its stunning alpine scenery, stopping along the way for photo ops and a short walk.When you arrive at Milford Sound, board your 2-hour nature cruise — either the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer — which takes you along the whole length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. Learn about the region's history, natural features and native wildlife as you are wowed by the sound’s famous beauty. See rainforest waterfalls, towering peaks and marine life like seals, dolphins and penguins, depending on the season. Sip provided tea and coffee, and purchase lunch at the onboard cafe when you get hungry (own expense).After your cruise, hop on a shuttle bus for the short drive from the wharf to the airstrip, where the final and most exciting leg of your tour begins — a 40-minute helicopter flight from Milford Sound back to Queenstown. As you soar over Milford Sound — one of the most breathtaking experiences you’re sure to ever have — marvel at the aerial views of glaciers, rivers, lakes and rainforest. Fly over the fiord along Harrison Valley, over Mount Tutoko and on to the Wakatipu Basin. If the weather cooperates on the day of your tour, you may even get to enjoy a snow landing on Donne Glacier. Upon your landing in Queenstown, your day trip ends with hotel drop-off.
Half-Day Milford Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown
Your tour begins with a complimentary pick-up from your central Queenstown accommodation (charges may apply to rural locations). After check-in completion, your pilot will give a thorough pre-flight briefing on the route and scenic highlights likely to be encountered. These include the famous Skippers Canyon, the Paradise region (recently made popular as film locations for Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Trilogies), and the Donne glacier among many other awe-inspiring features. Your 35-minute flight concludes with an over flight of the fiord of Milford Sound, prior to landing.The second half of the adventure begins in Milford Sound, where your pilot personally escorts you to the boat docks to board either your beautifully scenic Milford Sound Cruise. Traverse the full length of the 12km fiord over 1-hour and 45-minutes. You will receive reserved seating on the boat, with complimentary tea and coffee. Spacious outdoor viewing decks allow you to take in all of the Fiordland scenic highlights, including waterfalls taller than Niagra Falls, and an array of indigenous flora and fauna. Following your Milford Sound cruise your return flight takes in many of the pristine alpine lakes and waterfalls that Fiordland National Park is recognized for, including the Sutherland Falls which span 580m (1904ft). Flight time is another 35-minutes, with a total trip time of approximately 4-hours. After enjoying your scenic flight back from Milford Sound landing back in Queenstown you will be taken back to your accommodation to complete the journey.