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“Souther Discoveries underwater exhibit” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises

Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises
Milford Wharf | Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound 9640, New Zealand
0064 3 441 1137
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$62*
and up
Type: Tours, Adventure
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Attraction details
Owner description: Spectacular Milford Sound is an amazing experience. Southern Discoveries has a wide range of cruises to suit every interest and budget. They also operate the New Milford Discovery Centre & Milford Deep underwater observatory and relaxing 1 hour Kayaking tours in serene Harrisons Cove. Let us show you our Milford Sound.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
“Souther Discoveries underwater exhibit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

We only decided to visit this attraction on our third trip to Milford Sound. Should have done it the first time! The viewing was interesting, but the explanation by the Canadian staff member was outstanding for content and style ! That is what made the visit so memorable and worthwhile.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernDisc, Front Office Manager at Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises, responded to this review, April 2, 2013
Hi and thank you for taking the time to write a fantstic review of the Southern Discoveries DIscovery Centre & Underwater Observatory. We will definitely pass on your kind comments about our Canadian guide!

Kind Regards,
Southern Discoveries
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Fantastic Cruise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

We took the Small Boat Encounter Cruise with Southern Discoveries, and what a perfect choice that was. As we were staying overnight in Milford, we selected the last cruise of the day, departing at 3.45pm.

The scenery at Milford is spectacular, one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.
The water was calm, the day sunny and warm. Not far out we sighted a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins, who then accompanied us for some time, swimming alongside our boat, putting on a performance leaping from the water and chasing each other. A truly amazing experience - beautiful to see, we were very lucky.

We travelled out into the Tasman Sea, where our Skipper pointed out how difficult it is to see the entrance to the Sound from the sea and how Abel Tasman sailed past on his voyage of discovery to New Zealand, completely missing it. We were joined again by the Dolphins on the way back, we sailed close to a huge rock where small Fur Seals were sunning themselves, accompanied by one lone Blue Penguin, who was performing a ballet in the water.

When we visited Milford, there had been no rain for 12+ days [a drought in that part of the country], so the waterfalls weren't in action. There are however, a couple of permanent ones and our Skipper took us under one of these - an awesome experience in itself.

Returning to the wharf nearly two hours later, we felt lucky to have had the experience we had, and truly blessed to be Kiwis. We can't recommend Southern Discoveries Small Boat Encounter tour enough - a more intimate experience with like-minded fellow travellers.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernDisc, Front Office Manager at Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises, responded to this review, April 1, 2013
Hi and thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review of your Southern Discoveries Encounter Nature cruise! It certainly sounds as if you had a fantastic time, and were lucky enough to see dolphins, Fur seals and penguins! Milford Sound is an amazing part of the country and we're so happy that you enjoyed it!

Kind Regards
Southern Discoveries
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Irish in Australia
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Overly commercial”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

We joined the Lady Bowen on the way back from the underwater observatory & it was practically empty. The commentary for the final leg was difficult to understand even though English is my first language. So I checked with a lovely American couple standing beside me apparently they missed 90% of the commentary, when they advised staff they were directed to information flyers on the sound but there were none in English. Staff were helpful to a point - if they couldn't sell you something (average food, drinks, or other add on's like photos or postcards) they weren't interested. The boat it's self was very large with a huge open deck area perfectly for the views. Overall I'm so glad I had the opportunity to experience this paradise with a company that truly cares about the area rather than one in it for the dollars!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Great Cruise and Underwater Observatory way better than expected!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

We drove ourselves from Te Anau with two children who had never been to Milford before. We chose a later cruise to avoid the bus groups, and had a fantastic modern large boat with excellent facilities on board (even colouring in for the kids!) It was definately the way to go, we got up close and personal with the wildlife on offer for the day, and the waterfall, and even though the waterfalls were not as full as normal, it was still spectacular and an exciting experience for all of us. With the dry weather in the area, this meant hardly any freshwater on top of the sea water so the clarity at the Underwater Observatory was just amazing. I thought the two kids would be bored after 5 minutes, but thanks to the fantastic Daniel, they didn't want to leave. He took the time to show us some of the detail in the underwater gardens, which were really cool, enough to have us engrossed. There were hundreds of fish around. Going after the midday rush, and taking the time to speak to the skipper on the boat and visit the observatory made the day really special for us, and that was before a great meal at the Blue duck cafe and UNREAL accommodation at Milford Sound Lodges riverside chalets! Very happy campers who did not want to leave Milford!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernDisc, Front Office Manager at Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Hi and thank you for taking the time to write a fantastic review of your cruise in Milford and we're so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed your day! The Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory is a great way to find out what goes on under the water and to see it all from a different perspective. We will pass on your kind coments to Daniel!

Kind Regards,
Southern Discoveries
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Airlie Beach, Australia
Top Contributor
267 reviews 267 reviews
98 attraction reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
189 helpful votes 189 helpful votes
“Discovery Nature Cruise”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

We booked our cruise through Air Milford, who arranged transfers and travel to Milford Sound. We chose the option for 2 hr 15 min. on the Lady Bowen with Southern Discoveries. (see separate review for Air Milford). The cruise left on time and we were pleased to see that we only had 35 people on board – compared to the shorter duration, slightly cheaper big boat alternatives. The Lady Bowen is a single hulled, smaller vessel which enables it to nudge into the tiny inlets and right up to the rock cliff walls of the Sound. This allowed us to get very close to fur seals and birds or examine geological features pointed out by our knowledgeable guides.
We loved Mitre Peak, which rises almost vertically 5,500 feet above water level.
The vessel was built in 1987 but is still in good condition. Onboard you could buy light food snacks and drinks. Our fly/cruise/fly package with air Milford included a light lunch, which was promptly made available to us.
A nice cruise, but made less effective by recent dry summer conditions, which meant that the only waterfalls running were glacier fed and low volume.
Negatives - a unique location, but just another cruise, also reasonably expensive, even after factoring in the exchange rate.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernDisc, Front Office Manager at Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Hi and thank you for taking the time to write a review of your Southern Discoveries Milford Sound Cruise. We're really glad to hear you enjoyed the Encounter Nature cruise, it's a fantastic way to see the area (especially as you combined it with a flight!) We're hoping the recent rainfall will top up the waterfalls and get them looking even more powerful and magnificent again!

Kind Regards,
Southern Discoveries.
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