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Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Singapore
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Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Hi

I know from reading this forum that there is little difference between the cruise companies. But is there a difference in terms of cruise timings? Hoping for a less crowded cruise, and these are my options:

a) Kiwi Discovery - Mitre Peak 12.20pm

b) RealJourneys 1pm or 1.15pm

c) AwesomeNZ - Southern Discoveries 1.30pm

d) BBQ Bus - RealJourneys 2pm

Thanks!

New Zealand
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1. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Which month are you travelling?

All these midday cruises will be the busiest of the day, but it depends what time of year you visit. Dec through Mar the cruises will be more crowded than those in Sept/Oct.

If seriously wanting a less busy cruise then stay over-night in Milford and either take the last cruise of the day or the first in the morning.

The last cruise I did was in Feb 2010 with Mitre Peak Cruises, one of the smaller boats. While the boat might have been full - I don't know - we chose to sit on the top deck and there were six of us sitting out in the sunshine for the entire trip tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g612500-d941…

Enjoy :)

New Zealand
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2. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

They all go to the same place and see the same things. The difference is between the boat sizes. The nature cruise is usually a small boat with a nature guide on board giving you a commentary.

The scenic cruise is usually a bigger boat and has a a recorded message -some multi lingual.

I take it you are going by bus, as you mention bus names? I have been on most of them (through my old job) and while they are all excellent. I found Real Journeys "bullet coaches" just that little bit more luxurious.

Also another thing to remember the early cruise time, means earlier pick up from Queenstown. - set your alarm clock! ;-)

Enjoy :-)

New Zealand
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3. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

WL just reminded of over night stay in Milford, which is an excellent idea. But make sure you book accommodation first, as there is only 1 place to stay. In the summertime Southern discoveries also do a breakfast cruise at 9am, which I've put people on before that have stayed at Milford and enjoyed it, as they didn't need to take food with them. Another option you could do while staying there is also a kayak tour as well!

Also when booking the bus, go with Awesome NZ (intercity) as it'll work out cheaper.

with some other companies you'll have to pay for 2 seats, as they will need to save it for you both days. But you can book online directly with Awesome NZ - and the earlier you book the cheaper the seat can be! :-)

Or another idea, which is just he best way to see Milford I think, is bus in stay the night and fly out the next day. :-)

With any choice, you won't be disappointed!

Singapore
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4. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Thanks for the responses; that was really fast.

Yes, I am looking at ex-Queenstown Coach-Cruise-Coach tours in mid-August

(for my sister's solo tour actually -

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255104-i125-k5590876-August_9_Day_Itinerary-New_Zealand.html#42317546). Her arm is injured, so the less crowd the better. Less risk of people jostling and bumping into her.

Initially planned to take the BBQ bus as it has glowing reviews on TA, but just realised that they only operate on the last day she is in Queenstown. Didn't want to leave it right to the end, just in case of Milford Road closures.

So I have one vote for Mitre Peaks and one vote for Real Journeys. =p

Singapore
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5. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Hmmm.. the link doesn't seem to work. Try again....

tripadvisor.com/…42317546

South Island
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6. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

There has been many recent changes re the day tour to Milford Sound from Queenstown. Mitre Peak, Kiwi Discovery and Magic all use the same bus and really pack them in for the coach and the small Mitre Peak boat. Real Journeys are using coaches that take about 60 passengers and have more space on the the larger more comfortable boats.. Awesome and Great sights use similar size coaches and the larger Red boats.

BBQue Bus is your best option as they have excellent driver/guides and they specialize in small groups. They are also one of the few companies that focus on making more stops on the Milford road. This company uses the Real Journeys boats.

Singapore
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7. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Thank you SouthIslandBill. The BBQ bus sounds good!

Colorado
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8. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

And August is winter, so there will be fewer people in general. We were in Milford last month and practically had the place to ourselves.

Singapore
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9. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

Fewer people sounds great!

My sister chose BBQ bus since they have good commentary, yummy lunch and they use the larger Real Journey boats. She has slight sea-sickness, so she thinks she will feel less sick on bigger boats.

Btw, we just discovered a new problem for solo travellers in winter. Most tours need at least 2 people to go ahead, and apparently "at this time of the year, people usually book tours 1-2 days before the trip", so none of the operators can confirm any day tours for her now. She will have to plan as she goes...

Cheers!

10. Re: Best time for Milford Sound Cruise

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