Cruising Milford Sound with Southern Discoveries

Milford Sound is a magical place, and there is no better way to appreciate the awesome beauty of this impressive fjord than by taking a cruise. Southern Discoveries has been operating Milford Sound cruises for over 50-years and they are dedicated to preserving and promoting the incredible natural wonders of the area. Choose from these four Milford Sound cruise options and enjoy to the fullest, what Rudyard Kipling called the eighth wonder of the world.

 Milford Sound with Southern Discoveries

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Milford Sound with Southern Discoveries (Photo credit: Southern Discoveries)

The Encounter Nature Cruise lasts 2 1/4-hours, and the small size of the monohull boat which is used, allows close up and personal contact with the animals and birds along the way. You will have the chance to observe at close hand dolphins swimming nearby, seals enjoying a sunbath on the rocks, and if you are lucky and the season is right, you might spot a rare Fiordland crested penguin. A live commentary is provided by a specialist nature guide who is happy to answer all your questions.  The outdoor viewing deck is large and with covered seating from where you can enjoy a clear view of the amazing scenery including tall glacial waterfalls where gallons of icy water tumbles down into the Sound. Put on a raincoat and stand on the bow beneath the chilly torrent or hold out a glass to try a unique drink of glacial water.

A purpose built catamaran with wide and spacious open decks and large viewing windows is the vessel used for the two-hour Nature Cruise. With all round visibility from the whole top deck, you have a great chance of spotting seals, dolphins, and elusive penguins, and the experienced nature guide provides a live commentary in English describing the geology, history and wildlife of the fiord. On both these Milford Sound tours, an optional lunch can be pre-ordered.

 Milford Sound waterfall Southern Discoveries

Just one of Milford Sound’s spectacular waterfalls (Photo credit: Southern Discoveries)

The Scenic Cruise lasts 1 3/4-hours and is one of the most impressive things to do in Milford Sound, cruising the entire length of the spectacular fiord, and out into the Tasman Sea. Enjoy the breath-taking scenery from one of the comfortable indoor seats through the tall windows of the observation lounge, or from the viewing deck of the catamaran where you are afforded unrestricted 360-degree visibility. The captain provides a friendly and informative commentary which is available in different languages on some departures. An International Buffet lunch is served between 11am and 3pm with numerous hot food options and this can be booked in advance.

The 3-hour Discover More Cruise is Southern Discoveries’ most complete Milford Sound cruise option and is available off any of their cruises. The Discover More Cruise allows you the chance to really appreciate the beauty of the Sound and to converse with the expert nature guides as they stroll around the boat offering personalized commentaries. Included in this Milford Sound tour is a picnic lunch and visits to the Milford Discovery Centre and to the Underwater Observatory from where you will enjoy a privileged view of life beneath the surface. For the adventurous don’t miss the chance to stand on the bow beneath the magnificent Stirling Falls or to add on an hours kayaking.

Complimentary tea or coffee is available on each cruise option and the skipper is always pleased to receive visitors in the open wheelhouse.

Milford Sound tours from Queenstown are also available, and whichever Milford Sound cruise you chose you will enjoy a breath-taking journey with some of the most impressive natural features and great wildlife sighting opportunities of the whole of New Zealand, and beyond!

Visitors to New Zealand looking to travel to the Milford Sound from Queenstown can hire a rental car in Queenstown and take the opportunity to enjoy one the New Zealand’s best alpine drives along State Highway 6 and 94.