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Milford Sound Nature Cruise

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Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound Nature Cruise

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon2 hours 15 minutes  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 8 more


See the Eighth Wonder of the World on a Milford Sound Nature cruise, led by a naturalist guide. Gliding past granite walls, glacier-fed waterfalls and stunning Mitre Peak aboard a smaller-sized vessel than most Milford Sound cruises, you’ll have great photo ops of this famous South Island attraction situated within the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. Stay on the water for up to 2 hours, and be on the lookout for Fiordland crested penguins and bottlenose dolphins.
  • Enjoy the atmosphere of a smaller-sized vessel with a naturalist guide
  • Learn about the diverse wildlife and geological formations of Milford Sound
  • Choose from several departure times to suit your schedule
  • Get a glacial facial under Stirling Falls
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Live commentary on board from our passionate skipper
FREE Tea and coffee
Picnic lunch (if option selected)
Nature Cruise
Food and drinks, unless specified
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Alcoholic Beverages
Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $20 for 5 hours
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.

This activity will end right where it started.
Make your way to the Milford Sound Visitor Centre, where you’re welcomed aboard the vessel by your captain before boarding our spacious, modern catamaran.

Sip a hot cup of coffee or tea, and take advantage of spacious outdoor decks or the warm indoor seating with large viewing windows. Throughout the cruise, you’ll pass glacier-carved rock walls, such as the 5,550-foot (1,692-meter) Mitre Peak, jutting up from the fiord. Due to the boat’s smaller size, your captain comes close enough to the tumbling waterfalls to offer a taste of the pure waters from the frothy cascades. 

Search for fur seals, bottlenose dolphins and Fiordland crested penguins as you listen to commentary about this postcard-perfect landscape in the World Heritage–listed Fiordland National Park.

At the end of the cruise, your captain returns you to the Visitor Centre.
Stop At:  
Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
Your journey starts here, check in with friendly staff at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Fiordland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
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: 1 hour 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Milford Sound
Whatever the weather, our newly refurbished vessels offer unbeatable views through full height viewing windows. Make the most of out 360º decks which are perfect for that perfect photo. Our passionate skippers share their knowledge with lively and entertaining commentary. This is the perfect cruise for single travelers, couples and families with plenty of room to take in the views.
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.
Pass By:  
Sinbad Gully
Nestled behind the world famous Mitre Peak, the Sinbad Gully is characterised by extremely steep glacially carved walls punctuated by near vertical granite cliffs. These walls slowed pest invasion into the gully and as a result a number of unique native species remain in the Sinbad. Southern Discoveries is passionate about preserving Milford Sound’s beauty for future generations which is why it’s a key partner in a major conservation project – the Sinbad Sanctuary Project. The aim is to see the valley of New Zealand’s most photographed mountain (Sinbad Gully is at the base of Mitre Peak) become a sanctuary for native species.
Pass By:  
Stirling Falls
Milford’s second-highest waterfall is the Stirling Falls, a staggering 151m in height – three times the height of Niagara Falls, but the 1,300m mountain behind displaces this incredible height. This is the famous waterfall that Hugh Jackman ‘jumped off’ in the movie Wolverine. The sheer drop of the Stirling Falls allows boats to get right underneath – it’s an incredible feeling to have the power of 151m worth of glacial water falling so close to you.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Please advise of your country of origin at the time of booking
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Infant seats available
  • 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 Sound 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.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 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 Nature Cruise?
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
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Nature Cruise.
What is the policy on sanitization during Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
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 Nature Cruise.
What is the social distancing policy during Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Milford Sound Nature Cruise.
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Milford Sound Nature Cruise?
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 Nature Cruise.

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Traveler Tips

  • "Going there adds a day to the itinerary as the only option is basically a round trip out of Te Anau." See review


130 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 130 reviews
Would highly recommend
, Apr 2022
Great tour, absolutely stunning part of the country. Made even better by the super friendly crew, who had lots of super interesting facts and stories of the area.
Well worth going to Milford sound
, Jun 2021
Coming up close to the waterfall was incredible. People on the front of the boat got drenched. No seals at this time of year which we got told we would see but it is nature I guess.
Great experience
, Feb 2021
Getting wet through from the waterfall the boat went so close to. It was a great experience and the crew were lovely as well
Milford - great in the rain
, Dec 2020
The staff were friendly and helpful. Great narration by the skipper who obviously knew the region well and made everyone feel welcome. The hot food was also very good after being out on deck. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed it, even in the rain.
, Sep 2020
This is a one in a lifetime experience! Driving into Milford was so breathtaking, surrounded by mountains, and waterfalls. On the cruise It was raining which made it even more beautiful. We seen cheeky Kea, weka bird, NZ furseals, and Fiordland penguin. It was definitely an experience I’d have again! The overnight cruise will be the next one we do.
The boat trip.
, Mar 2020
The bus trip to Milford sound was great and we just had an awesome driver. Very informative and a great sense of humour. Well done Benjamin. The boat trip was just awesome and the commentary was great. It was drizzling a bit which made it more interesting. The waterfalls are amazing. Loved it. Will recommend this trip as a most.
Milford Sound
, Mar 2020
The sound is spectacular, but the boat ride was too short considering how long the bus ride was to get there. Everyone, the bus driver and people on the boat were extremely informative and kind!
Worth the Drive
, Feb 2020
Parking is the Big issue. Some lots charge 22.00 NZ$ per hour to park. There is a free parking lot as you enter Milford Sound which has a shuttle bus running every 15 minutes to take you to reception and return as well. Bring BUG spray.
1 traveler found this review helpful
One of natures wonders left intact
, Jan 2020
We selected the coach rather than driving and were pleased with this as the commentry was Informative and entertaining.
Amazing experience
Lisa B
, Dec 2019
It was a nice small boat with great views. We were able to get right up close to the waterfalls and wildlife
Good experience
Summer L
, Nov 2019
Enjoyed the cruise tour. Captain introduction is great! However the chinese introduction by crew was too soft & short, did not really translate the introduction from captain.
Milford sound nature cruise
, Sep 2019
Such a beautiful place to visit and our cruise was amazing and very informative. Enjoyed the bus trip from Te Anau as well, very picturesque with stops along the way for great photo opportunities. Highly recommend.
Beautiful, but a bit overrated. Sound system on ship was awful.
, May 2019
Milford sound is consistently rated as a 'must see" attraction, and rightly so. The fjords are majestic and beautiful, but not quite up to the hype. Going there adds a day to the itinerary as the only option is basically a round trip out of Te Anau. Fortunately, the drive there can be amazing. We took the time to go to Humbolt Falls, which adds about an hour and a half between the drive (dirt road) and hiking. Stopping at Mirror Lakes is also worth the time. The ship, as advertised, took fewer passengers than its rated capacity which made it uncrowded with plenty of room on the decks. Unfortunately, the sound system on the ship was awful. Even standing below the speakers we could pick out only a few words. The trip would have been more interesting if we had been able to actually hear the descriptions of what we were seeing.
Milford Sound is unique and very...
, Apr 2018
Milford Sound is unique and very beautiful and the cruise enabled us to make the most of it. The boat was comfortable and the commentary was good. It was a wonderful experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was drizzling with rain on the day but this enhanced the experience as lots of waterfalls were running. It was probably the highlight of our trip to NZ.
Unfortunately when we arrived at...
Louise M
, Apr 2018
Unfortunately when we arrived at Milford Sound, it was raining heavily, the visibility was zero and we had to park 10mins walk away to the terminal. I asked at the information centre about whether the cruise was still happening and if a shuttle bus was available and the answer was the cruise was still happening and we would have to walk through the rain. We decided to forfeit the money we had paid as the entire trip would have been wet and uncomfortable. Elderly people would happily pay extra for a shuttle rather than stumble through uncertain wet ground.
The nature cruise was informative...
Cindy J
, Feb 2018
The nature cruise was informative and beautiful. We saw fur seals, dolphins, and two Fiordland Crested penguins! Great fun to drink water from a waterfall, see the Tasman Sea, and have the opportunity to don raincoats and stand under a waterfall.
Wow ... this was a simply awe...
, Feb 2018
Wow ... this was a simply awe inspiring ride ... the cruise guys were amazing, the food/drink bar was simple but I still enjoyed some stuff from there. Milford Sound was simply amazing, the cruise spent the time to stop and circle around when something interesting Seals basking in the sun, Kingfish jumping out of the water was happening. Guides were knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining, cruise boat was really nice. Simply unforgettable experience.
I have wanted to do the Milford...
francis r
, Jan 2018
I have wanted to do the Milford Sound Cruise of 20 yrs now,well I got to DO 1 of my bucket list items,and all I can say that was alittle mad at myself for not doing it years ago,the place is as PRETTY as you see in photos,the crew was GREAT,the only thing that I am going toDO,is I'm coming back after some snow,it's SO pretty now ,I can't wait to see it after snow
Great tour - We got lucky with good...
, Nov 2017
Great tour - We got lucky with good weather and got to see penguins and seals! A nature cruise is the best way to see Milford Sound.
Even though it was raining it was...
Stacey H
, Jul 2017
Even though it was raining it was one of the most memorable trips I have been on. Crew/Staff was friendly and insightful. I would highly recommend to anyone.

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