Tours and Tickets
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
4.5
Recommended by 90% of travelers
90% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
New Zealand's Milford Sound is a natural wonder of the world, offering views of cascading waterfalls and mountain peaks. Don't miss this remote 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
$90.77
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 travelers 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 canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 200 travelers

    • 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 $88.18. 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
    • 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.
    • 1
    • 2
      Pass by
      Milford Sound
      Bowen Falls
      Sinbad Gully
      Stirling Falls
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises
      2,105
      New Zealand
      Joined in July 2009
    • A4471OCstuartb
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Astounding temporary waterfalls if its raining, dont let rain put you off!
      A must see in New Zealand, nothing like it outside Norway! Its a long drive from Queenstown. We stayed in Te Anu then drove to Milford Sound harbour in our camper-van for the afternoon trip, I recommend this as the drive is scenic but allow time, its a bendy road. It was pouring with rain but this meant the waterfalls were astounding. There were thousands of temporary waterfalls along with the permanent ones. Wrap up warn and wear appropriate wet weather gear. You can huddle inside the boat (many did) but you miss a lot looking only through misty windows. We did Doubtful sound in sunshine - its a different experience, not better just different, far fewer waterfalls but easier to see the mountain tops. We saw seals and dolphins as an extra treat. The underwater observatory is OK but not essential. It does break the trip (its near the end of the trip).
      Written May 24, 2024
    • K5016ZTbrucep
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Brilliant trip to Milford Sound and cruise the Fiord.
      Brilliant trip with a great coach driver Greg, who’s knowledge and communication was first class. The trip was well planned, on time, and covered all the items you would want to experience.
      Written May 11, 2024
    • N5426KCsandrai
      0 contributions
      4.0 of 5 bubbles
      Good cruise overall
      We booked a 3 hour discover more cruise but the boat returned back well before the 3 hours was up. The cost of car parking took the edge off the trip. The parking price was a real scam. Disgraceful prices. I feel sad to be a Kiwi. So many people saying how over priced the parking was. The cruise was good, just shorter than we expected.
      Written May 8, 2024
    • Navigate00606815097
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Queenstown to Milford Sound with Underwater observatory with picnic lunch in May
      Driver is absolutely fantastic and funny. Excellent driving and very interesting narrative of the journey and places.. Picnic lunch is good. And cruise is very nice. Enjoyed as couple.
      Written May 6, 2024
    • Loretta W
      0 contributions
      3.0 of 5 bubbles
      Bus journey was great.. but the boat was overcrowded.
      We did this tour on Friday, The day before we were phoned by the company offering us a free upgrade to view the underwater observation place. We accepted gratefully. But unfortunately it was not mentioned on the day? The bus ride there and back again was fantastic. Roland was a great driver and told us very interesting things about the area. The actual boat ride was crammed with to many people. A very large group of people were singing loudly in their own language and dancing on board and not to be outdone another group decided to have their own singing and dancing show. Because of these people we were not able to hear the commentary by the on board crew about the area and waterfalls. Unfortunately we did not enjoy the experience as much as we had hoped we would.
      Written May 3, 2024
    • Anonymous855
      0 contributions
      4.0 of 5 bubbles
      Tour driver, Paul, shared great Maori legends & stories en route...extra nice
      Our tour was on time and that is the result of Paul being very conscientious. His storytelling was delightful and helped the long bus trip move along quicker. The bus had a sun roof and we stopped for restroom breaks frequently. Overall, it was a good experience. Lunch buffet was good and well supplied and we were incredibly fortunate to have beautiful weather. The only way to add the last star was to give us more time on the actual boat. We were out and back at the dock too quickly for me.
      Written April 30, 2024
    • Q6451FBtrevort
      0 contributions
      1.0 of 5 bubbles
      Safety warning.
      The coach driver was not very professional. The boat trip was great a 5 plus. The coach trip was very stressfull. In the first 30 minutes of our trip the coach driver had whilst driving the bus. Received and carried out a phone call. Kept reading his day/run sheet, taking his eyes off the road. Kept turning around to talk to a passenger who he obviously knew. This passenger was seated in the first row near the door. When the passenger spoke he would look directly at them. I did not feel safe and spent the whole trip watching the driver ready to yell at him if he was about to run off the road.
      Written April 29, 2024
    • weijiang9
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      A must try
      Fantastic experience. Everyone is super friendly. A big applause for our coach driver Keith for very detailed introduction along the way and get me a spot in a heli back to town. #SDShareandWin #SouthernDiscoveries
      Written April 28, 2024
    • Wayne-Librarian
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      All that we had hoped…and more
      After an early morning pickup near our hotel, drive/guide Keith proved an excellent driver and tour guide whose knowledge was encyclopedic. It revealed how much he loves this spectacular land and his desire to share it. The four hour coach ride was punctuated with well timed and selected stops as we wound our way through the valleys and climbed into to mountains before the drop down into Milford Sound. That’s when the ‘spectacularity’ really ramped up. We picked a perfect day. As we are here in shoulder season, we were able to make our reservations just a few days ahead for the day with the best forecast. And it was…the best day! Our buffet lunch was delicious. The waterfalls were everywhere. And the stop at the underwater observatory was interesting if not awe inspiring. I’m glad we did it. Highly recommend this company.
      Written April 28, 2024
    • GoPlaces17383147496
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Highly reccomend the Observatory
      Great cruise. The Captian / Guide provided great commentary. The under water observatory is well worth doing just for the design/logistics let alone the sea life.
      Written April 28, 2024
    • Shapiroglen
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Terrific day on the sound
      We just headed terrific day, cruising the Milford sound and having the optional underwater observatory and kayak tour. The amount of time on each activity was terrific for a one day trip. The cruise was beautiful, we had perfect weather which helped and the staff was very helpful and engaging. The kayaking was short, but gave us an opportunity to see a seal and some birds up close as well as the glacial water as it tumbled down into the river.
      Written April 28, 2024
    • Trail810174
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Number One Driver of Number One Bus
      The tour was wonderful. Despite the various weather we experienced: rain, heavy fog, snow and luckily bright sunshine at Milford Sound. Our driver Mr Stein of Bus #1 managed keep the trip on time and fun. He was very respectful, funny, professional and knowledgeable. He is excellent, the Number One Good Driver! We enjoyed the great trip. Wang
      Written April 26, 2024
    • juergen_n
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Definitely recommended…
      We enjoyed the amazing scenery along the cruise as well as an interesting and very informative tour at the underwater observatory.
      Written April 23, 2024
    • Robertos-Journey
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Up Close and Personal with a Spectacular Fiord
      Cruising Milford Sound was on the bucket list for my current trip around the world. Southern Discoveries provided a worthwhile and educational experience in the rain and fog which is so prevalent in the rainiest place in New Zealand. The captain offered a lot of insight, we got in close to magnificent waterfalls – of which there are hundreds during and after the rain – but the Underwater Observatory was closed due to – wait for it - excessive rain clouding the water. Good food was served, the tour departed exactly as scheduled and the cruise terminal is modern and clean with bathrooms and souvenirs.
      Written April 23, 2024
    • apriljS4789DZ
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      You must experience Milford Sound and the Underwater Observatory.
      It is a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the depot for the cruise ships but it is worth it when you get on the comfortable, not overly crowded boat to ride around Milford Sound (Fjord). You can see most everything from either inside or outside. The views are breathtaking and the cruise is not to long or to short. As goldilocks would say... it is just right! The underwater Observatory is a unique experience that adds a little more enjoyment to the trip.
      Written April 22, 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.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

    Popular mentions

    4.5
    4.5 of 5 bubbles130 reviews
    Excellent
    106
    Very good
    11
    Average
    5
    Poor
    6
    Terrible
    2

    Rebecca G
    2 contributions
    1.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 February 28, 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
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 July 23, 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 July 30, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    suzanne
    Hamilton, NZ7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 March 22, 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 March 24, 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Jeanine O
    3 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 January 3, 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.
    Kia Ora Jeanine, Thank you for your kind words about our staff - We will make sure we pass this feedback onto them. We apologise that you did not have the best experience when in a beautiful place like Milford Sound. In regards to this feedback we have now begun a review of our third party listings to make sure all information surrounding our product and food offerings are completely up to date, as well as making sure we include a section around the payment system on the boat to avoid future disappoint. Apologies again and we thank you for taking the time to write this review. Nga mihi nui.
    Written March 18, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Katarina Renaldi
    11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 February 9, 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 February 17, 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    drpbj691
    Seattle, WA4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 May 18, 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 Netherlands14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 February 2, 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
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 February 2, 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 Zealand71 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 March 11, 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 March 17, 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Smaug_11
    Johannesburg, South Africa138 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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 May 28, 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 June 10, 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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