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Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

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Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon4 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Pickup from select hotels
iconOffered in: English and 8 more

Overview

See Milford Sound by air and water, flying round-trip from Queenstown for a small-craft boat cruise through the famous fiord. Save time on this half-day tour as you soar over the World Heritage-listed landscape of Fiordland National Park. Landing at Milford Sound, trade your wings for watercraft and a sightseeing journey with experienced naturalists. Learn about the wildlife and geology of the scenic waterways at one of New Zealand’s top natural wonders. Includes round-trip hotel transfers and a boxed lunch.
  • Half-day Milford Sound tour from Queenstown by air and water
  • Enjoy great views of Milford Sound during a scenic flight
  • Appreciate the grandeur of UNESCO World Heritage–listed Fiordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu
  • Wind through the waterways of the sound on a smaller boat that provides an up-close look at cliff walls
  • Taste pure glacier water at one of the waterfalls
  • Learn about the region from the pilot and boat crew
  • Includes hotel pickup and drop-off in Queenstown
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Round-trip Scenic flight
2 Hour Nature Cruise with 360° viewing decks
Free tea and coffee
Live commentary on board from a specialized Nature Guide
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Picnic Lunch included on 11:30am Departure Only
All Fees and Taxes
Snacks
Alcoholic Beverages
This operator has two meet-up options available. You can either meet at the departure point below or select a location for pick-up.
Milford Sound , Milford Sound, Milford Sound, Southland Region, South Island

Air Milford Hangar, near Remarkables Park Shopping Centre. 3 Tex Smith Lane, Frankton, Queenstown 9300

Hmm...we can’t seem to find this place. Please check the spelling, or choose another location.

Please arrive 30 minutes before your selected start time for pickup. Your operator can coordinate exact time and location.

This activity will end right where it started.
Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Milford Sound, one of the South Island’s top destinations. Your half-day tour begins with hotel pickup in Queenstown and a transfer to the airport for check-in and a safety briefing.

Taking off to Milford Sound, your pilot narrates the natural wonders located within Fiordland National Park, part of the UNESCO-listed region of Te Wahipounamu. Peer through the aircraft’s large windows for optimal viewing of the unfolding scene below, including blue waterways that cut through the dramatic, snow-dusted Southern Alps. 

After a gentle landing at the airstrip in Milford Sound, swap your plane for a boat, which carries a maximum of 75 passengers compared to a typical 300. The smaller-sized craft allows your captain to bring the boat up close to majestic cliff faces and cascades. 

Expert naturalists inform you about Milford Sound’s geology and any wildlife sightings including fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, and Fiordland crested penguins. Snap photos of Mitre Peak and taste pure water from the glacial melt at Stirling Falls.

You have the option to pre-order a boxed lunch to be served during your cruise (sample menu below); otherwise, purchase a meal or snack from the onboard cafe. Complimentary tea and coffee are provided to warm you throughout the cruise.

If you’re interested in learning about boat operations firsthand, be sure to visit the captain’s bridge during the return voyage. Then disembark on shore for the scenic flight back to Queenstown, where you’ll make a ground transfer back to your hotel.

Sample boxed lunch menu (subject to change):
• Ham and cheese roll
• Chicken drumstick
• Seasonal salad with dressing
• Soup and bread (winter only)
• Cheese and crackers
• Packaged biscuit
• Chocolate bar
• Juice, tea, and coffee
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Air Milford
Your journey starts here - Check in for your trip with friendly staff and begin your experience of a life time. Complimentary accommodation pick up and drop off from central Queenstown is available.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Queenstown
After your safety briefing, take your seat and set off to Milford Sound, located within the UNESCO World Heritage–listed regions of Te Wahipounamu and Fiordland National Park. Marvel in the spectacular scenery as you leave Queenstown behind for a while. Large picture windows allow for optimal viewing throughout your flight as your pilot provides informative details about the terrain below. Marvel at gorgeous mountain landscapes cut with blue waterways, dusted by snow and framed by dramatic clouds and light. After a gentle landing at the airstrip in Milford Sound, trade your wings for watercraft. Board your small boat nature cruise, which provides a more intimate experience and allows your captain to get within touching distance of cliffs and waterfalls. This boat is purpose-built for viewing with 360º viewing decks and full length windows. You can even taste pure glacier-melt water from the 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls as the bow of the boat goes underneath. Expert Nature Guides aboard your boat share details about the geology of this glacier-carved region and any wildlife that you might see, such as birds, seals, dolphins and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. You are welcome to visit the captain’s bridge to learn about boat operations firsthand during the return voyage. At the end of your boat tour, enjoy a second chance to soak up the scenery as you fly back to Queenstown.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Fiordland National Park
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 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
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. Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory offers views of rare black coral and other marine life.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Southern Alps
The Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana is a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the range's western side. The name "Southern Alps" generally refers to the entire range, although separate names are given to many of the smaller ranges that form part of it. The range includes the South Island's Main Divide, which separates the water catchments of the more heavily populated eastern side of the island from those on the west coast.[1] Politically, the Main Divide forms the boundary between the Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago regions to the southeast and the Tasman and West Coast regions to the northwest.
Stop At:  
Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
Your pilot will Transfer you here for your Cruise & Food passes.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
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.
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:  
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.
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Please advise of your country of origin at the time of booking
  • Please bring a warm, waterproof jacket, and wear non-slip shoes, insect repellent and sun protection
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 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.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Milford Sound Scenic Flight and 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 Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Milford Sound Scenic Flight and 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 Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise.

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Reviews

5.0
star-5
28 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews
star-5
Highlight of Queenstown trip
Warwick_B
, May 2021
Getting to sit in copilot seat on flight back. Awesome experience. Seeing dolphins swimming alongside cruise boat was pretty cool as well.
star-5
Epic experience!
Dev_C
, Feb 2021
Fantastic experience and service by the air Milford team. We had a great time exploring. Thanks Tom and Mary.
star-5
A fantastic experience!
maxine
, Mar 2020
We had an amazing day: clear blue skies; friendly and knowledgeable pilot and crew; very smooth and efficient travel arrangements. The only thing that would have made it better would be the chance to visit the Underwater Observatory.
star-5
A trip of a lifetim
Laurie
, Feb 2020
If I could give this trip 6 stars, would. Very organized. Unbelievable views both from the plane and they n the nature cruise. Alex our pilot was wonderful, pointing out sights along the way. A must for anyone visiting this area.
star-5
Snowy mountain tops and lakes
Laura_S
, Feb 2020
Fabulous views of Milford Sound! The flight was smooth and the pilot was excellent. The waterfalls were spectacular. It was a must do trip.
star-5
Flight to paradise
Oscar_H
, Feb 2020
A remarkable display of airmanship by our pilot, Antony, who skillfully navigated our very comfortable Cessna Caravan into this most exquisitely beautiful place called Milford Sound. This excursion will be forever etched in my mind. The photos do not do it justice, you have to SEE it. The cruise is also a MUST. Our boat crew delighted us with sights of waterfalls and wildlife and included a commentary on geological natural history. Excellent all the way there and back!!
star-5
Stupendous from start to finish!
Camper65933166983
, Jan 2020
1) Breathtaking - had many "is this real life?" moments! 2) Well worth the price, experience of a lifetime!!! 3) Dress warm, even in New Zealand "Summer" 4) Hopefully you get lucky with weather like we did, it was the only day of the week that wasn't rainy (they cancel the flights if the weather is bad) 5) Shoutout to Pilot Tom!!
star-5
Breathtaking!
William_H
, Dec 2019
This was a spectacular experience well worth the money! From pick up to drop off the whole operation was very well organised and executed. The staff at Air Milford were fantastic and our pilot was experienced, calm and very informative. The Southern Discoveries cruise was great and the commentary on the boat was very informative. We gig to go very up close and personal with a massive waterfall and saw some NZ fur seals on the rocks. The flight was absolutely breathtaking and I overcame my fear of light planes! My advice: do it!!!
star-5
This was an excellent and well worth...
George S
, Aug 2017
This was an excellent and well worth the expense. We had a very fantastic trip. Flight was gorgeous, pilot tried to tell us interesting things, the cruise was great and food delicious.
star-5
This was one of the highlights of...
Amy V
, Jun 2017
This was one of the highlights of our very busy, jam packed adventure in New Zealand. The weather was perfect, the flight family crew was wonderful and the cruise was great. Air Milford even provided us with a drink and cheese and cracker plate on the cruise! I cannot even put into words how magnificent the flights were. Flying through the mountains was breathtaking and totally worth the extra money you put into this day trip. You save so much time and the views are INCREDIBLE. People are crazy not to splurge on this tour!

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