Tours and Tickets
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
4.5
Recommended by 90% of travellers
90% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
It's no surprise that New Zealand's Milford Sound is sometimes called the eighth wonder of the world, offering views of cascading waterfalls and mountain peaks. Don't miss this natural gem on this intimate South Island cruise, where you coast through the fjord's clear waters, and enjoy live commentary as you go. Just sit back, snap photos of the landscape, and sip a warm included beverage for a cozy ride.
from
$145.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 200 per group
Duration: 1h 45m
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
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Written guide
Print or digital reading material such as a guide, map, brochure, etc.
: German, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish
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Highlights
  • Explore scenic Milford Sound with this intimate South Island nature cruise
  • Take in the vistas of Fiordland National Park from the boat observation deck
  • Learn about the wildlife and geology from your naturalist guide's commentary
  • Get a top value with drinks, optional meal, and glacial water taste included

  • Live commentary on board from our passionate skipper
  • FREE Tea and coffee
  • Picnic lunch (if option selected)
  • Nature Cruise
  • Entry/Admission - Fiordland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
What's not included
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • On arrival at Milford Sound you can park at the Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $10 per hour.


Start:
  • Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre, Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
    Check in at our Southern Discoveries Milford Sound Visitor Centre, which is clearly visible as soon as you enter the Milford Sound Terminal - Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Stroller accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Infant seats available
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3960NATURE

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Most travellers can participate
    • Please advise of your country of origin at the time of booking
    • Car Parking: On arrival at Milford Sound you can park at the Milford Sound carpark. Please allow 10 minutes to walk from the main carpark to the Milford Wharf Visitor Centre. Alternatively, you can park free of charge at Deepwater Basin Carpark and walk over to Freshwater Basin to the Cruise Terminal. This walk is approximately 30 minutes in duration, so additional time will need to be allocated in order to do this comfortably and arrive at the terminal 15 minutes prior to your cruise for check-in.
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 200 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    How much is Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
    Milford Sound Nature Cruise price starts from $151.40. Discover and book Milford Sound Nature Cruise on Tripadvisor
    What is the Milford Sound Nature Cruise cancellation policy?
    Milford Sound Nature Cruise cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Milford Sound Nature Cruise on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
    Milford Sound Nature Cruise is hosted by Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Milford Sound Nature Cruise on Tripadvisor
    How much time do I need for Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
    On average, this experience will take approximately 1h 45m. Discover and book Milford Sound Nature Cruise on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3960NATURE

    Reserve your spot

    Similar experiences

    Itinerary
    • You'll start at
      Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
      Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
      Check in at our Southern Discoveries Milford Sound Visitor Centre, which is clearly visible as soon as you enter the Milford Sound Terminal - Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679.
      See address & details
    • 1
      Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
      Stop: 10 minutes
      See details
    • 2
      Fiordland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
      Stop: 105 minutes - Admission included
      See details
      Pass by
      Milford Sound
      Bowen Falls
      Sinbad Gully
      Stirling Falls
    • You'll return to the starting point
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises
      2,032
      New Zealand
      Joined in July 2009
    • ponnip
      0 contributions
      Great cruise
      The cruise was very enjoyable. The scenery was stunning, the boat was comfortable and had the amenities we needed. The underwater observatory did not live up to expectations.
      Written 24 February 2024
    • D5220LKss
      0 contributions
      10 out of 10 experience
      This was an experience of a lifetime for myself and my family. The airline and boat cruise operators were professional, highly competent and extremely personable. Special shoutout to Mike our pilot who flew the plane flawlessly and described such beautiful parts we witnessed on the way to Milford Sound. I cannot recommend this enough. Don’t hesitate just sign up!
      Written 24 February 2024
    • 424mercyw
      0 contributions
      Milford Sound
      Greg our tour operator was knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining. The views are incredible along the way and Milford sounds is picturesque. Highly recommend
      Written 24 February 2024
    • Wander820807
      0 contributions
      The Ultimate Guide on Wheels!
      We were really lucky to have Greg, the extraordinary bus driver and tour guide. This guy isn't your average driver, he's a storyteller, a comedian, and a master of navigation all rolled into one. He made our trek to Milford Sound an unforgettable experience. Keep him, he's an asset to your company.
      Written 23 February 2024
    • StuartB815
      0 contributions
      A must do visit.
      I booked the trip before we left the UK so not sure what to expect, but everything was spot on. The trip from Te Anau was longer than planned (Around 2hrs 10 min) parking for the cruise about 10 mins walk and about $40. The experience check in was smooth and boarding the ship easy. As we had booked the kayak and observatory trip we were lucky the weather was lovely and sunny, but the most stunning part were the views of the sound itself absolutely beautiful. Definitely worth the trip.
      Written 22 February 2024
    • azwanisa2024
      0 contributions
      Fantastic trip for family with small kids
      We were very satisfied with our day trip to Milford Sound. Southern Discoveries picked us up from our apartment in the morning to our coach. The coach was comfortable, airconditioned, with glass roof ceilings just like in the photos. The bus driver/tour guide was very skillful, informative and had some funny stories to keep us awake. The cruise was great too, spacious and not too crowded. The views of course were amazing. But the highlight of our tour was the flyback home with Milford Air. We had a lovely pilot. It was safe and definitely worth it. Not just because its only 40 minutes back to Queenstown but we had the most amazing views from above. We were a family of 7 with kids youngest 5 yo and the eldest 15 yo, so this combination was great for us. And they even shuttled us back to our apartment afterwards.
      Written 22 February 2024
    • kims936
      0 contributions
      Beautiful Views with Boxed Lunch
      No one can dispute the views while on the tour are amazing, whether in rain or sunshine. However one would have expected much more detailed information on the geology of the area or history. It was basically a boat ride not a tour by any means.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • Dreamer407589
      0 contributions
      Mountains
      Fiordland National Park was amazing. Best part of the trip! Our driver, Shale, was exceptional! If we could have afforded it we would have flown back and saved the return trip.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • stevensE8128LY
      0 contributions
      Exceptional IF YOU DRESS WARM for the moving boat wind chill. Merely Good if you have to stay in enclosed areas.
      Warning, wear extra warm clothes!!! This is far more enjoyable if you can be out on an observation deck. The boat moving at 20 knots generates a lot of wind chill factor, so even in summer (Feb 2024 for us) you need a winter coat and gloves. We had to go in and out of the enclosed areas and didn't get quite the experience we had 6 years ago on a warmer day (both in late summer (Feb). Good cruise of Milford Sound and enjoyed the extra of the underwater observatory. A recommended extra. We chose this as a friend went diving and we had extra time to burn.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • lescoffey
      0 contributions
      Great trip by Southern Discoveries and Air Milford in Queenstown
      This was our last big excursion of our trip to New Zealand from US. Our driver over on the coach, Shayle, was excellent. Very knowledgeable and it was easy to understand his instructions and details. He took good care of us. The fly back was just breathtakingly beautiful-I highly recommend going back this way. The eight seater plane was operated by Emma at Air Milford. She explained what we were seeing and the aerial view-I was awestruck by the beauty.
      Written 20 February 2024
    • france456
      0 contributions
      Fantastic day out
      Absolutely fantastic day out. Jamie our driver/guide was great, really friendly and knowledgeable. We had plenty of stops on the drive to Milford Sound to take photos. The boat trip & observatory were well worth doing, the scenery is spectacular. The picnic lunch was also very good!
      Written 20 February 2024
    • georgecE8389EV
      0 contributions
      Fantastic time for all.
      Our bus driver was brilliant great knowledge and humour explained so many things. We felt safe through the whole trip. The boat ride through the Milford Sounds was superb. The whole trip from start to finish was superb with heaps of laughs, food on the boat and photos. Recommend to the MAX
      Written 17 February 2024
    • D2511ZJmelanieb
      0 contributions
      Milford Sound coach tour
      Coach trip was good, but long on the way back could do with breaking that up as well. The boat trip was good except that the toilet facilities were basically all broken and for a full boat doesn’t work well. Overall good day though
      Written 17 February 2024
    • NJCricketer
      0 contributions
      Wonderful trip - skip the observatory!
      The Milford Sound experience was wonderful - the commentary was good, the waterfalls were plenty and nice and the free coffee was welcome and timely. The underwater observatory can be skipped and the only reason I have a 4 grade. We can say we did our part by paying and contributing to this observatory. It had rained the previous couple of days but there was bright sunshine during our boat ride. would like to see this on a rainy day too now.
      Written 17 February 2024
    • Elizabeth K
      0 contributions
      Better than the other trips.
      Spend less time on the bus AND visit the unique underwater observatory! Travelling from Te Anau is much shorter than from Queenstown.
      Written 17 February 2024
    See all 2 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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    4.5
    123 reviews
    Excellent
    101
    Very good
    10
    Average
    4
    Poor
    6
    Terrible
    2

    Rebecca G
    2 contributions
    Jan 2020 • Couples
    I was very excited to book onto the nature cruise, as both a keen bird and sealife enthusiast as well as first time visitor to Milford Sound.

    The commentary was poor, and barely audible, however we were encouraged to the front of the boat and to take lots of photos as we got close to the waterfalls.

    However at one point , as others have alluded to, there is a very close up experience with a waterfall. We were told to prepare for wet weather, so I had full waterproofs and I had put my SLR camera away ( although we were not advised this was necessary) however I got completely soaked and my camera water damaged ( even inside its protective case). We were unable to leave the fore deck as the narrow passages were blocked with people and so have now got a £350 repair bill to get my camera functional again.

    I have written complaints to Southern Discoveries but they have stopped replying.

    Obviously the scenery is superb and Milford Sound in general is spectacular.

    Disappointed in an entirely preventable situation, all previous close ups with the waterfalls were like a light drizzle, this was more in keeping with a tsunami.
    Written 28 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Nature Lover
    Auckland Central, New Zealand3 contributions
    Jul 2020
    We visited Milford Sound on a snowy and foggy day; the scenery was fantastic and couldn't be better. The day before, one of the other ferry companies told us travelling from Queenstown to Milford Sound may take 5 hours, so we depart around 8 am to reach the ferry at 1:30. In the morning, we were told that the road will be closed at 4:30 pm. It was a snowy day and before the tunnel, we had to stop for a while and escorted by a truck for some parts of the road. Anyway, we reach Milford Sound at 12:30 and we tried to catch the earliest ferry in order to avoid driving back in snowy nights and road closure.
    The earliest was Southern Discoveries company at 1:15 while the others depart at 1:30, so we chose this company.
    1:15 they told us because some of the passengers stuck in the road blockage, they will have 15 mins delay. We were happy to wait 15 mins for others as we knew the road conditions. But that 15 mins became to 50 mins and when we complained that we want to leave, they just replied we want to make everyone happy! And we saw other cruises scheduled at 1:30 were leaving and there was no plan for us. After 50 mins, just a few customers were added and we were in full stress that the road will be blocked at 4:30.
    The cruise was good, especially with not many people on board. The cruise finished at 4:05 and we ran to the parking, we had to speed up to reach the tunnel before the closure at 4:30 in heavy snow. We drove to Queenstown non-stop for 4 hours, mainly in dark; we were starving because we wanted to have our dinner after the cruise and after we reach to the safe side of the road before darkness which that 50 mins changes the whole plan.
    So if you want to be late for any reason, you can buy and book with this company, it is for you. Otherwise, do not trust them. If you are told 15 mins delay, just refund and choose another company right away, because this will ruin your day.
    Written 23 July 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi there Thank you for taking the time to leave a review but we are sorry to hear you didn't have a positive experience. Unfortunately in winter the Milford Road can take a lot longer to drive and with current roadworks there can be unexpected delays on the road. We do try and hold the cruise for customers running late, we're sorry that there was such a delay in your cruise departing on the day. It's not something that would happen often and with no service in Milford unfortunately we can't contact late customers. We're happy to hear you enjoyed your cruise on the day but apologise for the extra stress in trying to get to the tunnel on time. Kind regards,
    Written 30 July 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    suzanne
    Hamilton, NZ7 contributions
    Mar 2021 • Friends
    Very comfortable vessel, beautiful scenery.

    Everyone just loved the bottlenose dolphins catching the free ride between the 2 hulls of the catamaran.

    Very impressed with the skipper who was also the nature expert, he was well informed and so professional, we all really appreciated not having to listen to the usual 'bloke' borderline jokes.....
    Written 22 March 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora Suzy Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a review. Seeing dolphins ride the bow wake of the boat is pretty special. Great to hear our team looked after you and you enjoyed the commentary from our skipper. Ngā mihi,
    Written 24 March 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Jeanine O
    3 contributions
    Dec 2023 • Friends
    The Milford sound boat cruise is a wonderful experience. The views are beautiful and we were so lucky to get fine weather. However we did have a poor experience in terms of service. We had booked through a 3rd party website and understood this booking included lunch so we arrived hungry however on check in we were told lunch was not included. The woman at the counter was extremely nice about this and we understood it to be an issue with the 3rd party. Once on board we queued for 20 mins plus to buy a vegan sandwich (the only option) and some crisps. However the machine did not accept paywave so a physical card was required for payment and none of our cards were accepted by the machine so we couldn’t purchase any food. This was the case for several guests on board. Again the staff were lovely about it and it wasn’t their fault but it’s very poor service for what is clearly aimed at international tourists that would be unlikely to be carrying NZ dollars. We greatly enjoyed the beautiful scene art but were disappointed to have to do it hungry!!
    Written 3 January 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Katarina Renaldi
    13 contributions
    Feb 2021 • Solo
    Went in the perfect weather window after it had been raining all night and day. I went as a solo traveler in February and saw a pod of dolphins, many seals, and beautiful waterfalls everywhere, and was 1 of only 3 people ok board for the last tour of the day. Incredible experience and very friendly and knowledgeable skipper and guide :) worth the extra $10 to hit that weather window and have the knowledge of the locals so kindly shared with us.
    Written 9 February 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Katarina, Thanks so much for this awesome five star review. Oh wow sounds like you got the perfect weather window, Milford is so special during or after lots of rain and you saw dolphins, amazing. We're stoked we made your trip to Milford a memorable one. Ngã mihi, Ciara
    Written 17 February 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    drpbj691
    Seattle, WA4 contributions
    May 2023 • Couples
    The weather was good, which made all the difference. A relatively early boat (10:45 am) meant we had to drive from our Queenstown hotel starting at 5:45 am. But it was worth it and maybe the highlight of our 8-day trip in New Zealand. But the weather needs to be good so the seas are calm and you can see the mountains. Make the boat reservation in advance -- went in the shoulder season (early May) and it was still hard to get a good time to travel. There are several boat companies that take you into the sound, and they all seem to go to the same places.
    Written 18 May 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    JohnArts
    Westervoort, The Netherlands17 contributions
    Feb 2020
    Despite the heavy rain, or perhaps because of that, we were able to enjoy a phenomenal natural phenomenon. Thousands of waterfalls crashed down from great heights. Fortunately there was an opportunity on the boat to stand dry on the back deck and still outside. All in all an unforgettable experience!
    Written 2 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Vicki G
    Iluka, Australia32 contributions
    We were lucky enough to go on a rainy day and waterfalls were pouring out of the mountains everywhere. We went on a larger boat 8 years ago and enjoyed the trip this time so much more; smaller vessel, felt more personal and the commentary was great. I would definitely recommend this Nature cruise with Southern Discovery above all others
    Written 2 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    MCFC1977
    Auckland Central, New Zealand76 contributions
    Feb 2021
    Captain gave a very good account of the sound and expressed gratitude that the small amount of people on board, came. Tough for a once extremely busy entity. Did their best to keep a brave face. Day was spot-on.
    Written 11 March 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora Thanks so much for taking the time to leave us a review, we really appreciate your feedback. It has been a tough year but the support we have received from people like yourself makes it so worthwhile, so thanks for choosing to cruise with us. We're stoked you had a great day. Ngā mihi. Ciara
    Written 17 March 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Smaug_11
    Johannesburg, South Africa144 contributions
    We booked with Southern Glacier Helicopters - which are Southern Discoveries heli partners. They flew us in and out of Milford Sound. We joined Southern Discoveries for the cruise. You can tell Southern Discoveries is one of the most experienced tour operators in this area.
    The entire trip was 5 stars. The boat was well kept. There was ample space both inside and outside such that the experience wasnt crowded.
    We had near perfect conditions on the day we went. Milford Sound is just spectacular and you cant really get enough of it. The cruise takes you right out to the Tasman, stopping and Sterling falls on your way back in. The commentary was informative. Overall a wonderful day spent in Milford Sound.
    Written 28 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora, A heli/cruise/heli is a pretty special Milford Sound experience and we're so glad you loved it. We really appreciate you taking the time to pass on your feedback and choosing to travel with us. We hope to see you in Milford again. Ngā mihi,
    Written 10 June 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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    Milford Sound Nature Cruise provided by Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises