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All reviews milford mariner overnight cruise milford wanderer nature cruise new zealand tasman sea the bus te anau slide show next morning water activities nature guide before dinner doubtful sound tender boat south island fur seals
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Reviewed 13 March 2018 via mobile

After doing a TON of research, I decided to book the overnight boat cruise on the Wanderer with Real Journey’s. This is the smaller boat they operate in Milford Sound.

The overnight cruise departs at 4pm, and returns at 9am the next morning. The reason I chose the Wanderer over their other boat (the Mariner) was due to the activity onboard. We were able to take a 1.5 hour hike on the Milford Track. This was not an option on the other boat.

Another thing that drew me to the overnight cruise, versus the daytime two hour tour, was due to the long drive from Te Anau, and lack of any other services/activities/accommodations in the Milford Sound area to keep you occupied in the evening, and I didn’t want to drive 5 hours in a day and do a boat ride. Plus, the reviews about taking a helicopter from Queenstown were mixed - it seemed like a ton of the flights are cancelled due to weather (which actually happened to another group that was in the boat terminal while we were waiting to board our boat!).

Lastly, I just thought it would be fun to spend the night on a boat that only sleeps 36 people - how quaint!!

First, the cabin was ADORABLE and small. I recommend you only bring a duffle bag or backpack with one night of clothes, since you have no room for suitcases. The shared bathroom was fine - with so few people, I rarely ran into anyone in there.

The activity of walking on Milford sound was fantastic - the guides show you cool stuff on the trail and talk about the plants and animals. Note - you do not need hiking boots for this walk like the materials they send you state - a normal pair of athletic trainers will do (running shoes, cross trainers, etc), but it is a good distance, so if you don’t walk/hike regularly, you might find this walk long.

The dinner was great. We ended up eating with another couple and had a delightful evening, they had a good wine list and the food was decent. Tip - Bring cash for the bar!

In the morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast and then spent two hours standing on the deck, snapping photos and being wowed by the 500+ waterfalls we saw. We got lucky - the rain that came overnight gave us quite a show. We arrived back into the harbor at 9:15am, and were quickly on our way to our next adventure.

I loved the overnight cruise, and highly recommend it. It is truly a unique experience. However, I do think it is more suited to couples, adults and outdoorsy, easy going folks. I think a kid or hyperactive adult would go nuts on this tiny boat and drive all the other travelers crazy.

Date of experience: February 2018
1  Thank JM2007SJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2018

I booked the Scenic Cruise on the ship Monarch through Real Journeys (the Nature Cruise might be more worth it since it takes a slower route around Milford Sound). Chris was our bus driver, and he provided lots of informative and informative commentary (the jokes!) on our 5 hour (each way) ride to Milford Sound. We had multiple stops on the way there such as at Te Anau for food/bathroom breaks and others for sightseeing. The bus had roof windows (which I admit at first I didn't understand why) which showed their full potential once you entered Milford Sound because of the mountains on each side of the valley.
The Scenic Cruise had commentary in multiple languages, while the Nature Cruise is only in English (which might make it less crowded). I did order the Picnic Lunch, but it might be worthwhile to bring something from Te Anau or even Queenstown) for cheaper.
Luckily, Tropical Storm Gita hit late Tuesday and actually brought snow with it. While the bus ride on Wednesday morning there was overcast, the sun came out by the time I got onto the cruise around 1:30 PM. The sunshine combined with some snowcapped peaks was amazing.
Overall, absolutely stunning and worth the visit. Definitely the most beautiful place I've ever had the pleasure of visiting and well deserved of often being called the eight wonder of the world. Chris did mention the plane and helicopter (they actually stop on a vista point for you to get out and take pictures) ride bakc to Queenstown, but I did not take up the offer. Maybe next time!

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank mchowzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2018

Can't imagine a better company to help you experience this breathtakingly beautiful part of N.Z. Had 3 boat trips with them (Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and glow worm caves, Te Anau), as well as bus trips and they made the visit to each destination, memorable for life.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank jeannette444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2018

Milton Sound has a smart visitor centre and docks for several boats but not much else. We boarded our boat, the Milton Sovereign, along with a couple of hundred others, but as it had capacity for 400, it didn’t seem crowded and there was plenty of room to move about.
The Sound was most impressive with almost vertical walls going up to 6,000+ feet and a depth below the keel of about the same. Over two miles top to bottom, all formed by ice. Although the tops were in cloud most of the time, we didn’t miss out on the vastness of everything and even saw some seals, but with frequent rain showers and winds in excess of 50 knots in places, it was difficult to stand on deck and take photographs. Nevertheless, it was a truly worthwhile experience.
Apparently it rains 200 days per year so take your waterproofs.

Date of experience: January 2018
1  Thank Russell F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2018 via mobile

We went on Real Journeys mid-morning cruise on Milford Sound. Our private guide/driver drove us to the sound from Te Anau. The scenery was dramatic and you can see the sharp angles of the mountains even before you get on your boat. The cruise was fun with well maintained, clean and spacious boats. Bowen waterfalls was quite impressive. We watched a seal colony. The only negative is that there is a constant stream of boats into and out of the fjord making it feel crowded. The drive to and from Milford Sound is very impressive with multiple interesting stops and the tunnel.

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank TourWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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