Milford Sound Cruises
Get closer to nature in Piopiotahai Milford Sound. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains and lush rainforests, Milford has it all.
Travel in style onboard the Milford Haven or Milford Mariner. Sit back, relax and enjoy a craft beer or barista coffee with an unbeatable view.
Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with a RealNZ Cruise. Exploring the full length of the fiord you’ll learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you move in close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and, in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our experienced skippers tailor the cruise to take into consideration weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you’ll see the best that Milford Sound has to offer on the day.
The perfect way to experience what’s been called the “eighth wonder of the world”.
Cruise in style on board the newly refurbished Milford Haven. More than a boat, the Haven is a cruising bar and restaurant. Enhance your cruise with something from our café-style menu and pair it perfectly with a fresh craft beer or local wine.
- Extensive rooftop deck and indoor lounge
- Restaurant quality food & beer on tap
- Barista coffee and tea available (extra cost)
- Onboard nature guide
- Carries 180
Departures: 8.45am, 11am, 1.15pm, 3.30pm
The Milford Mariner is a purpose-built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords.
- Spacious viewing decks
- Fully licensed bar
- Dining saloon and observation lounge
- Onboard nature guide
- Carries 120
Departures: 10.30am, 1.00pm
The weather in Milford Sound is famously unpredictable. To make sure you have the best Milford Sound experience it is best to come prepared.
- Non-slip shoes/boots
- Waterproof jacket to keep you dry
- Warm sweater/fleece jacket to keep you warm
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to keep you sun safe
- Insect repellent to stop the sand flies
- Camera to capture the memories
- Personal medication including for asthma and allergies
The journey to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Road is just as remarkable as the destination itself.
Make sure you leave plenty of time to stop and check out the lookouts and scenic trails along the way.
Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau.
Approximate driving time:
From Queenstown - 5-6 hours
From Te Anau - 3 hours
From Invercargill - 4 hours
Not familiar with New Zealand's alpine roads? Sit back, relax and let us drive you to Milford Sound. RealNZ offers daily coach connections from Queenstown and Te Anau.
Coach & Cruise From Te Anau
Daily coach connections from Te Anau. Sit back, relax and take in all the views along the Milford Road.
Coach & Cruise From Queenstown
Staying in Queenstown? Let us drive you to Milford Sound.
Fly & Cruise
One of the most scenic flights in the world! See Milford Sound from the sky and sea.
Self Drive & Cruise
Make your own way to Milford Sound and join one of our daily cruises.
Trip Advisor Reviews
Beautiful and Informative12 September 2022
I had a fantastic experience on this trip! Our tour guide/bus driver was very knowledgeable and friendly. I enjoyed her commentary on the bus to Milford Sound. The nature guides on the boat in the Sound were also very knowledgeable, and able to point out interesting features and wildlife. I was very excited to see fur seals! The boat and bus were very nice, and the food was pretty good.EmmaAbrams, Via TripAdvisor
Nathan was a star, and the whole trip was amazing.9 January 2023
My partner and I had a wonderful day with Nathan, our driver and guide. Nathan gave a wonderful commentary, he made us laugh (I think only us kiwis mostly understood some subtle jokes) and I feel that he made our coach such a good vibe. Great to be able to have a few stops to stretch, take photos, and head to the bog.aimeepotts, Via TripAdvisor
Stunning views, and I just think doing it this way is much more relaxing, and you see a lot more. Thank you, Nathan! I hope you see this!
From Matt and Aimee xxx
Jaw-dropping and affordable!6 June 2022
Truly an incredible experience. Iain, our driver and guide, was great! He was helpful and knowledgeable the whole trip. A near-unforgettable experience for an unbelievably low price. Highly recommend it to any travelers in the area.holtadann, via TripAdvisor
Highly Recommend7 May 2022
We did the bus journey from Te Anau to Milford - our bus driver was a local and we had a great time with him. Easy stops along the way and just beautiful scenery. We got the Milford Haven cruise on Milford Sound. Just breathtaking views. Overall really enjoyable trip. We took our own lunch, but the smells coming out of the kitchen did have us buying a few snacks as well. We really enjoyed the journey on both the bus and the boat. Highly recommend.MaureenDuffy, Via TripAdvisor
Awesome way to spend a day24 June 2022
Took the day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound on a comfortable coach with Hudson as our driver and he was really great. He knew pretty much everything there was to know about the trip and Fiordland and was awesome to hear his commentary through this beautiful part of the country!! Going through the mountains with the snow and crisp mountain air is incredible and there’s a few stops for pictures and stretching of legs. If you’re going to Queenstown you have to do this trip. We’ll be recommending it (with the RealNZ team!) to everyone we know.alexandreapowell, Via TripAdvisor
Memorable Journey31 March 2022
We've been to Milford Sound a few times, but taking a bus trip gave a whole new perspective. The glass roof meant we could see the tops of the peaks towering above us. The driver (Brian) added to the fun as he enthused about everything, despite having done the trip hundreds of times. The sound was glassy and the day sparkled.BalSue, Balclutha, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
Wonderful Milford Sound28 August 2022
Exceptional customer service, everything ran smoothly from the on time taxi pick-up to the coach driver Gill. Was able to stop at some extra photo stops along the way. Amazing views and no rain insight. NZ definitely showing off today. Decided to fly back because of the clear skies and it was breathtaking. Pilot wonderful and they arranged taxi drop off. Certainly recommend RealNZ.Piperscou, Via TripAdvisor
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are travelling from Queenstown it will take around 5 hours to reach Milford. Te Anau to Milford is around 2 hours 30 minutes. This timing allows for toilet and photo stops along the way. If driving, make sure you fill your vehicle with petrol in Te Anau before travelling to Milford as there are no petrol stations at Milford Sound or en route. For more details, refer to our Driving Times webpage.
Please allow up to 45 mins - 1 hour to park your vehicle and transfer to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, where you must check in for your cruise 20 minutes prior to departure. Car parking at Milford Sound is organised by Milford Sound Tourism (MST). The main parking area is approx. a 10 minute walk to the terminal. Parking in Deepwater Basin is approx. a 25 minute walk from the terminal.
Parking fees will apply in the main car parking area operated by Milford Sound Tourism. The cost will be $25 for up to 5 hours.
The Milford Sound Levy is paid to the Milford Sound Tourism authority and helps to maintain, preserve and develop the Fiord. For more information, see the Milford Sound Tourism website.
Driving conditions during winter (May to September) can be difficult. Extreme care is needed as freezing temperatures mean the road can ice over in shaded places. During the winter it is mandatory to carry snow chains in your vehicle as the road can sometimes be covered in snow. These are available for hire from petrol stations in Te Anau and Queenstown.
If you are not confident about driving in winter conditions then take a RealNZ coach to Milford Sound so you can relax and take in the stunning scenery.
There is limited luggage storage available at the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal.
Your travel agent or the outlet where you purchased your Milford Sound trip will refund the flight component of your ticket. You will return to Queenstown by coach.
Milford Sound at the mountainous north end of Fiordland National Park is the classic fiord - a deep water inlet between steep sided high mountains. Milford Sound is a middle-sized fiord at around 13 kms in length and it is famous for its dramatic scenery, especially Mitre Peak. This fiord is the most accessible of Fiordland National Park’s 14 fiords and it can be reached by bus, car or flight connections from Queenstown.
Doubtful Sound is located in the heart of Fiordland National Park where the mountains are still very impressive but not as high as Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is three times longer and has a sea surface area roughly ten times larger than Milford Sound. Its three arms are Hall, Crooked and First Arm. It is famous for its wilderness scenery and wildlife sightings. To get to Doubtful Sound visitors first take a launch trip across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass.
Visitors with enough time choose to visit both fiords as they have different characters.
Fiordland’s weather is what gives the region its unique character. Rainfall is what makes Fiordland a land of lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.
The temperatures you can expect in the different seasons are as follows:
- Summer (December-February) 19-23 Celsius / 66 - 73 Fahrenheit
- Autumn (March-May) 8-18 Celsius / 46 - 64 Fahrenheit
- Winter (June-August) 5-9 Celsius / 41 - 48 Fahrenheit
- Spring (September-November) 10-19 Celsius / 50 - 66 Fahrenheit
While we cannot guarantee you will see wildlife, sightings of fur seals are reasonably common in both Doubtful and Milford Sounds. A pod of bottlenose dolphins resides in Doubtful Sound so you have a good chance of seeing these fascinating mammals, and in Milford Sound dolphins are occasional visitors. In both sounds the rare Fiordland crested penguin can at times be observed.