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Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour

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Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour

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Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon2 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


This Milford Sound cruise in UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park stops at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, accessible only by boat. Your morning cruise on a smaller boat travels outside of peak hours, offering prime viewing and more time on the water than other tours. Hear informative commentary from our passionate skippers on board, and enjoy a provided picnic lunch. Upgrade to include a kayak excursion and paddle Harrison Cove in a small-group limited to 8 people.
  • Travel by boat through stunning Milford Sound, part of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park
  • Includes a stop at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory to observe marine life up close
  • Learn from expert guides about the history, wildlife, and geology of Milford Sound
  • Marvel at towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and abundant animal life of this glacier-carved landscape
  • Have the option to include a guided kayak excursion limited to 8 people

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

Most Milford Sound cruises can take upwards of 250 people. On this cruise, only 90 people are allowed onboard, making for a more relaxing experience as you travel at off-peak hours.
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Sightseeing cruise on Milford Sound
Picnic lunch
Local guide
Visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
All kayaking equipment if you choose to add kayaking to your cruise
Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $20 for 5 hour
Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre , Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
This activity will end right where it started.
Board your cruise boat at Milford Sound Wharf and head out onto the fiord. View the stunning landscape of World Heritage–listed Fiordland National Park through panoramic windows.

Your morning cruise on the sparkling waters of the oft mist-shrouded Milford Sound is outside of peak tour hours, so you can thoroughly soak up the tranquil beauty of the fiord. Your passionate skipper describe the natural landmarks, such as Mitre Peak, as you glide past cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs in this top New Zealand destination. 

Access the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory by boat for an exploration of exhibitions on the fiord’s geology, history and wildlife. Descend 33 feet (10 meters) into an underwater world to find rare black coral and other sea creatures that inhabit Milford Sound.

Upgrade your cruise to include a Milford Sound kayak trip with a small group, limited to 8 people. Follow your kayak guide into the calm waters of Harrison Cove. Ogle at Pembroke Glacier and Harrison Valley as you paddle around leisurely before returning to the boat. Gear and instruction are provided; no prior kayaking experience necessary.
Stop At:  
Milford Sound
Fiordland National Park is in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for the glacier-carved fiords of Doubtful and Milford sounds. A beech forest trail on the sandy Milford shore offers views of towering Mitre Peak.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a fiord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls, which plummet down its sheer sides. The fiord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins.
Pass By:  
Bowen Falls
The stunning Lady Bowen Falls is Milford’s highest waterfall. It plunges 162m from a hanging valley into the head of Milford Sound and provides electricity for the Milford Sound township by feeding a small hydroelectric scheme, as well as being the water source for the settlement
Pass By:  
Mitre Peak
Mitre Peak is a beautifully dramatic mountain in the South Island of New Zealand, located on the shore of Milford Sound. It is one of the most photographed mountain peaks in the entire country
Stop At:  
Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
Our Milford Sound Underwater Observatory is a unique opportunity to visit New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory, accessible only by boat. Descend by spiral staircase to 10 metres beneath the water’s surface. - See rare black coral growing in its natural habitat and meet colourful sea creatures - Relax as our guide tells you more about the unique history, geology and wildlife of Milford Sound - Learn about the story of Milford Sound and our conservation efforts with entertaining videos and easy to read information panels
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Please advise of your country of origin at the time of booking
  • Please note the minimum age to kayak is 5 years old and must be accompanied by an adult or guardian in a double kayak.
  • Car Parking: On arrival at Milford Sound you can park at the Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $20 for 5 hours. 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.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Southern Discoveries
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour.
What is the policy on sanitization during Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour.
What is the social distancing policy during Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour.
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour?
A:The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour.

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63 Reviews
1 star

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 63 reviews
Kayak was fantastic
, Apr 2022
Very well managed. Holly was amazing and we really enjoyed the kayaking. Nice to be on a smaller boat
Awesome tour... cool guides!
, Dec 2019
A cool trip, informative and exciting... we would do it again! Southern discovery’s did. a great Job!
Milford Sound is one of the most...
Michael R
, Jun 2018
Milford Sound is one of the most spectactular places on this earth. The day we did the tour was windy and rainy, but I still marvelled at the beauty of the place. Because of the weather, our Kayak Tour and the visit to the Discovery Center were cancelled. But the tour organizer contactect Viator and the refund was issued within a few days. Most days in Milford Sound not be as ideal as those pictured on promotional literature, but it is worth the visit. In fact, on rainy days, the waterfalls are more numerous and more spectacular. I have video of the the wind forcing the water up the side of the mountains. So even if the weather is not perfect, you won't be disappointed.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great tour to Milford Sound although...
, May 2018
Great tour to Milford Sound although we could not do the kayak trip for safety reasons due to the weather conditions, but it was very good anyway.
We enjoyed the information the...
Gail B
, Mar 2018
We enjoyed the information the nature guide provided as the boat slowly cruised around Milford Sound and took us very close to the waterfalls and seals so we could take photographs. Kayaking was very peaceful and educational. It was a beautiful sunny day and it hadn't rained for three days so the water was very clear. A great day in Milford Sound!
Tour was great. It was during the...
Leonard C
, Jan 2018
Tour was great. It was during the rainy season, and because of that the waterfalls along the fiords is majestic. Guide and boat captain took us real close to the falls. Highly recommended
A really enjoyable and enjoyable...
, Jan 2018
A really enjoyable and enjoyable cruise of Milford Sound. Nice size crowd of the boat, with plenty of room for everyone and having the picnic lunch included saved the hassle of worrying about that. The only slight draw back was that it was difficult to make out wait the nature guide was saying at times
The cruise took us through the...
, Dec 2017
The cruise took us through the scenic sound and into the Tasman Sea. The crew was very accommodating and answered any question I had. We went on the kayak tour afterwards and it was a the best part for my wife and I, the kayak guides were very informative about the sound and we were able to see 10 very rare penguins as we paddled around. It helped that the weather was perfect but I would definitely recommend this to someone else.
Fantastic day. We had blue skies...
Gina T
, Nov 2017
Fantastic day. We had blue skies. Kayak Tour was a great addition. The discovery centre could have been missed though.
This is highly recommended...
, Jun 2017
This is highly recommended - wonderful and memorable experience - many thanks to viator for a quick and uncomplicated booking process.
Milford Sound is an absolutely...
Caylie C
, May 2017
Milford Sound is an absolutely stunning part of the Fiordland National park. This tour gets you great views up close of the mountains and waterfalls and even on a rainy/misty its worth it, with all the extra waterfalls cascading down the mountains. Kayaking was really fun and we were the only couple
After going on this tour and seeing...
Andrea L
, Apr 2017
After going on this tour and seeing the other Milford Sound tours, this was by far the best one. We also did the hour of kayaking, which was one of the best things I did while in New Zealand. They definitely deserve 5 stars!!
This was a great tour and would...
Peter E
, Feb 2017
This was a great tour and would recommend to everyone
This was one of our first excursions...
, Feb 2017
This was one of our first excursions on the South Island. Though we were catching the tail end of summer in February -the weather was all over the place. It turned out we had the best weather on this day- the rest of the week visitors had to endure rain or clouds. The visitor center was easy to find -exchanged our vouchers for passes to board, eat lunch, and lanyards for kayaking. We rode on the top of the boat which was chilly in shady spots and warm in the sun. Great views all around- saw several waterfalls. Then we were able to see some wildlife-NZ fur seals along with dolphins. Once we arrived at the Discovery center, we immediately met up with our kayak guide, Simon. It was my first time kayaking so I was unsure of what I could manage. Booking an hour was perfect for me as a beginner. Plus they had a lift that lowered us already in our kayaks into the water which made the whole process simple. We only had 4 total in our group and the views from the water were stunning -away from crowds and the boat engine noise-it was truly peaceful. Our guide said it was a catch-22 with weather- because while we had sun and great views, we had less waterfalls.Whereas if we had rain, the skies would be cloudy, but we'd have seen far more lovely natural waterfalls . So I say be prepared for either and you won't be disappointed in the least. I'd also recommend when kayaking to wear your camera on a lanyard around your neck. With a paddle it was too easy for me to drop in the water. And even though I didn't, I stopped taking pictures because of the fear. After Kayaking-we were in the underwater observatory which was fascinating because our guide was well versed on the sea life we saw.We learned some interesting things and saw creatures that I'd not seen before. Favorite part: kayaking. On the whole- I would definitely do this excursion again and recommend to family/friends. also-pictures do not do it justice.
Such an excellent experience...
, Feb 2017
Such an excellent experience - extremely, extremely rainy the entire time but still very worth it! With the rain came the thousands of waterfalls we were able to see. Our kayak guide Simon was fantastic! Very knowledgeable. Would recommend to anyone who isn't afraid of getting wet and wants to see Milford Sound it it's true environment.
This was by far the best thing we...
, Feb 2017
This was by far the best thing we did on our month long honeymoon. Could not recommend this tour enough. It was downpouring while we were there, which is what you want b/c it creates a thousand pop up waterfalls! So, hopefully you are lucky and get wet weather while you are there like we did! The tour company and staff were fantastic. They gave great info out during the cruise, while getting you really close to the waterfalls, and the kayaking was a fun experience as well!
Thoroughly enjoyable. Amazing views...
Michelle B
, Feb 2017
Thoroughly enjoyable. Amazing views with interesting commentary. Enjoyed seeing the seals as well as the fish etc. in the optional observatory tour. We had a clear day and were able to sit outside most of the time. The boat was not crowded and the picnic lunch was bigger than expected and worth having. Overall a good day.
We enjoyed our cruise and the...
Dan B
, Jan 2017
We enjoyed our cruise and the magnificent sights....there were so many beautiful waterfalls!
Great customer service with amusing...
stephen d
, Jan 2017
Great customer service with amusing and informative commentary. Comfortable boat with decent picnic lunch especially the white choc cookies! and unlimited tea/coffee. Milford Sound exceeded our high expectations. Unmissable and worth every penny.
Absolutely spectacular scenery...
, Jan 2017
Absolutely spectacular scenery. Definitely out of my comfort zone doing the kayaking but so pleased I did. Up close and personal to the rock face and waterfalls. Very knowledgeable guides and interesting facts provided on the cruise. Discovery station also worth the visit

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