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Milford Sound tour operators

Lower Hutt, New...
Level Contributor
67 posts
2 reviews
Milford Sound tour operators

Kia Ora. Our long awaited trip is finally happening next month! We have a rental car, but I think a coach trip to Milford Sound might be best. Can anyone recommend a good tour operator? Ideally we don’t want to be on a crowded boat. We are travelling in the school holidays as I work in a school. Thanks.

10 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,605 posts
745 reviews
511 helpful votes
1. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

definitely a tour bus in april. Southern discoveries is the only operator that goes to the underwater observatory if you want to do that.

Ironically, i have found the bigger boats are the less crowded ones, and the smaller boats crowded so you cant move around.

I prefer a bus that doesnt have the commentary in several different languages as i fine the constant talking detracts from the scenery.

Metro Manila...
Level Contributor
122 posts
13 reviews
8 helpful votes
2. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

We went on the Milford Sound cruise c/o AwesomeNZ just yesterday and found it to be great experience for us!

Our bus driver, an elderly man who expertly handled our vehicle, was giving his commentary only during the trip up from Queenstown to Te Anau and then Milford Sound. Granted that at times his voice wasn't too clear at certain moments, I actually found them helpful as we passed by specific spots. And then on the way back, he only spoke three times: when we departed Milford Sound, as we approached Te Anau (to announce a quick rest break) and then when we were about to enter Queenstown (around the airport area).

As for the crowd on the boat, while there were about 40 or so people, my family and I didn't think it was crowded. In fact, when we boarded, we opted to eat our lunch in the enclosed section (with tables) at the main level instead of climbing up to the outdoor deck where nearly 90% of the group decided to head for. After our lunch (about 10mins), from our spot in the eating area, we had easy access to the bow of the boat where there was only a small family. Great shots from that spot & no crowds too!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,115 posts
440 reviews
245 helpful votes
3. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

We found that smaller boat and larger boats have the same amount of space per person.

April may not be as busy so the boats may have less people but no guarantee.

There are so many coach tour operators but if you are in Te Anau I would go for an earlier tour/cruise before the tour operators come from Queenstown.

Lower Hutt, New...
Level Contributor
67 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

Thanks. We've decided to go with Great Sights.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
1,736 posts
5. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

Let us know what your experience was like. Up to date info is of the greatest benefit to other travellers.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
1,736 posts
6. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

Please remember to tell us of your experiences as the up to date info is of great benefit to other travellers.

Edited: 28 March 2024, 17:30
Lower Hutt, New...
Level Contributor
67 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

Will do!

Lower Hutt, New...
Level Contributor
67 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

Update:

We did our tour a few days ago. I would definitely recommend the boat we went on...Gem of the Sound. A few different bus companies had passengers on that boat. Sadly, our experience with Great Sights was not great. They did have a driver call in sick which I know can't be prevented, but the earlier tour was canceled and the bus was late for our start time. The bus had very narrow seats with minimal leg room and broke down 3 times on the trip. We only got to do a few of our stops on the way due to the delays. We did get there on time, but the trip was stressful and uncomfortable. I'm not sure if other tours busses are so uncomfortable.

Level Contributor
77 posts
48 reviews
29 helpful votes
9. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

We used Cruise Milford company on”Milford Explorer”. It was a smaller boat on first sailing of the day around 9:45. Fewer passengers and lots of room to move around outside and inside of the ship. Lots of seating.

Thank for your frank account of the bus tour. We’re not always aware of how well/poorly they operate unless we get candid reviews.

In mid March, we spent several nights in Te Anau watching weather reports and debating a coach trip. In the end decided to drive the rental car for an early morning cruise. The 2 hours each way were not difficult and we stopped when we wanted. Did miss a few turn outs as signage isn’t that clear. No worries…

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,605 posts
745 reviews
511 helpful votes
10. Re: Milford Sound tour operators

#8 gem of the sound is Pure Milford. i also agreed it is a fantastic boat. IMO the most comfortable at milford sound. We did a trip on it this week and were really impressed with the boat and commentary

Edited: 18 April 2024, 09:02
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