30% off Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise until 17 December | Promo code: WANDERER30
Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with a leisurely cruise aboard one of our vessels, The Haven, The Mariner, The Sinbad or The Sovereign. Exploring the length of the fiord, you'll learn about the region's history and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces, and watch out for dolphins, seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our experienced skippers tailor each Milford Sound cruise, considering the weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you'll see the best Milford Sound has to offer.
Informative, participative and relaxed, a scenic cruise is the perfect way to experience what's been called the "eighth wonder of the world".
Explore Milford Sound aboard our diverse fleet, each vessel offering a distinct and unforgettable experience tailored to your desires. Check out the different schedules and departure times for each vessel below.
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.
Schedule: Daily, October to September
Cruise Duration: Up to 2 hours
Departures: 8.45am, 11am, 1.15pm, 3.30pm
The Milford Mariner is a purpose-built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow perfectly suited to cruising the fiords.
Schedule: Daily, October to April
Cruise Duration: Up to 2 hrs
Departures: 10.30am, 1.00pm
Cruise in morning stillness and enjoy the fiord before anyone. Aboard our smallest vessel, the Sinbad, you’ll enjoy an early and intimate cruise that helps you feel even closer to Milford Sound.
Schedule: Daily, November to April
Cruise duration: Up to 1.5hrs
Our most spacious vessel ensures your whole party has a great view. With a huge space, and even larger views, you’ll feel wowed by the immensity of Milford Sound.
Schedule: Daily, October to September
Cruise duration: Up to 1.5hrs
Departures: 11am, 1:15pm
The weather in Milford Sound is famously unpredictable. To make sure you have the best Milford Sound experience it is best to come prepared.
The journey to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Road is just as remarkable as the destination itself.
Read about the best way to travel to Milford Sound, whether you prefer a scenic road trip, a breathtaking flight or a luxurious coach ride. No. matter the journey, once you get to Milford Sound, you can be sure to experience a once in a lifetime adventure, especially onboard our majestic premium Milford Sound cruises.
Milford Sound is approximately 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau.
If you are self-driving from Queenstown, try to stay overnight in Te Anau as the trip to Milford and back from Queenstown can get very tiring. Also, leave plenty of time to stop at the many scenic trails and lookouts along the way.
Get your photo featured: #RealNZ
"Amazing experience and seamless"9 January 2023
tona0, Via TripAdvisor
Such a beautiful trip. Easy pickup. So glad I went with RealNZ. It seemed to be the only bus with a glass roof, which was definitely needed to appreciate the soaring views of glaciers and mountains along the way. Driver Nathan had great commentary, learnt a lot along the way. Appreciated the photo stops and comfort stops. Milford Sound cruise was seamless, and breathtaking. 100% recommend.
"Must do if you are in Queenstown!"6 June 2022
soumyak2012, via TripAdvisor
This trip was incredible, if you are visiting Queenstown/Te Anau it is an absolute bucket list trip!! The pickup was really easy - RealNZ sent a taxi to pick us up from our hotel in Queenstown, which included in the price. Our driver Paulie absolutely made the trip - he provided insightful and funny commentary for almost 6 hours non-stop on the way to Milford Sound and had such detailed knowledge of the flora and fauna in the region. The bus has windowed ceilings, so you can see a very wide angle view, which gives an incredible view of the mountains for the entire drive. The bus also stops several times on the way, including in Te Anau (if coming from Queenstown), and several points in Fiordland, to take in the view and get some picture. The boat tour is also incredible - I would recommend bringing your own lunch rather than getting the included lunch, and spending as much time as possible on one of the viewing decks! The whole experience was incredibly well planned, with almost no effort on our end, and completely seamless. Again, if you are in Queenstown or Te Anau, this is an absolute must!!
"Nathan the RealNZ!"7 May 2022
pengyeww, Via TripAdvisorOur tour guide, Nathan, was just excellent! He literally narrated non-stop for the entire trip to Milford Sound, filled us in with all the interesting and worthy sights/things to take note. Obviously he wouldn't have done it without good knowledge of what is going on, not to mention on all the wonderful pit stops he made. Wonderful trip! Make sure you get Nathan of RealNZ.
"Amazing Milford Sounds Coach & Cruise Day Trip!"15 May 2023
Connector141991323 Via TripAdvisor
Our day trip coach driver/tour guide Nathan was a wealth of knowledge and loads of fun to be with our entire 10hrs Milford Sounds day trip! Super friendly, very passionate with sharing his knowledge and very attentive towards us travelers. We felt very safe, and came back from our trip full of knowledge of the entire route heading to and from Queenstown to Milford Sounds! Great awesome experience on the RealNZ cruise, the boat was very large, plenty of space for people to take pics and nice sparkly clean toilets. Awesome experience getting up and close to the waterfalls but skipper was amazing to get us close enough without drenching us passengers! Can't recommend RealNZ enough!
"Milford Sound in the Rain is Unforgettable!"28 August 2022
Our super bus driver/guide was SO right that the heavy rain we were having would make our cruise on Milford Sound an EPIC trip! The combination of rain and Milford Sound, along with hanging out on the bow of the Milford Haven and getting drenched, made for an awesome experience and life-long memory! If you have any flexibility in your Milford Sound tour dates, shoot for a rainy day. And get outside!Y7756QJmikek, Via TripAdvisor
And to reiterate, our Real NZ bus driver/guide provided wonderful commentary while providing a comfortable and safe ride. Its a long day from Queenstown, but his commentary and music made for a great trip. Thank you!
Milford Sound cruises vary in duration, typically lasting between 1.5 to 2 hours. The exact length depends on factors such as your chosen vessel, weather, wildlife encounters, and overall conditions. During these scenic cruises, you'll navigate the entire length of the stunning fiord. Departing from the Visitor Terminal, the cruise takes you to the Tasman Sea, offering breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls, and captivating landscapes before returning to the terminal. Explore our fleet to see the average cruising time of each vessel.
The Milford Sound cruise sets off from the Visitor Terminal and travels up one side of the fiord out to the Tasman Sea, before returning to the Terminal along the other side. This is to make sure you don’t miss out on any spectacular waterfalls, mountain views, and wildlife.
The Milford Sound cruise sets off from the Milford Terminal, located at the centre of Milford Sound’s small centre. The address is Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, Milford Sound 9679, and the phone number is +64 3 249 6000. If you’re getting a coach and cruise with RealNZ, we’ll have arranged a coach pickup or meeting location with you prior to travel.
You get to Milford Sound via the single Milford Road that runs from Te Anau straight through to Milford Sound, going through the Fiordland National Park. You can travel to Milford Sound by driving yourself, or you can opt to sit back, relax and catch our comfortable and spacious coaches. Our professional drivers will take you there, pausing at all the important stop-off points so you can take in all the incredible viewpoints. Read more on how to get to Milford Sound.
Going on a Milford Sound cruise gives you the unique opportunity to encounter native wildlife living in this remote paradise. There might be playful Keas, Fiordland crested penguins, chatty dolphins, graceful albatross, and relaxed NZ fur seals. However, it's essential to appreciate that these creatures are wild, often unpredictable, and some are facing decline. While knowledgeable nature guides will search for wildlife, the animals’ spontaneity means sightings are not guaranteed. A journey into Milford Sound offers a chance to connect with the natural world, and each sighting becomes a testament to the untamed beauty of this incredible environment.
The Milford Sound cruise is extremely child-friendly, offering an unforgettable experience for your little ones. While exploring the vessel, it's important to be cautious due to potential hazards like steps and railings. Ensuring your children's safety is paramount. Kids will love the cruise, especially as it brings them up close to magnificent waterfalls and offers opportunities to spot fascinating wildlife.
To make the most of the journey, pack essentials for a comfortable day trip, including waterproof layers, a sun hat, and ample food and water. Additionally, bring along games to keep them entertained during travel.
Our Milford Sound cruise has a 24-hour cancellation policy for bookings made directly with RealNZ. Full refunds will be given in the event of a cancellation, and amendments can be made to your booking when RealNZ receives notification at least 24 hours prior (NZ time) to your departure time. This does not account for Milford Sound Overnight Cruises, which asks for 14 days' notice prior to departure.
The Milford Sound coach makes multiple stops along the way to Milford Sound so you can take in the incredible views and also pause for amenities like restrooms and snacks. From Queenstown, you’ll stop in Te Anau for a restroom break, snacks, and coffee, before heading into the Fiordland National Park. Here, you’ll stop at Mirror Lakes to take in the incredible reflection of the mountains in the still waters. You’ll also stop further along the road in the Eglington Valley to absorb the immensity of the Fiordland mountains. Later, you might stop at another restroom before travelling on to Monkey Creek, the best spot to see the mischievous Keas in action. A short stop might be made at the entrance to the Homer Tunnel while you’re waiting to enter before making your way into the centre of Milford Sound.
There is limited luggage space on the coach to Milford Sound. If needed, we can store larger luggage in the undercarriage of the coach while you’re on the cruise and only if you’ll be returning on the same coach. However, there’s no space in the coach seating area for large bags.
In Queenstown, the coach will pick you up from our RealNZ Visitor Centre at 88 Beach Street, Queenstown, 9300. Our coaches can make pick-ups from select accommodations, contact us at +64 3 249 6000 if you’d like to enquire or make a pickup request. Check your booking confirmation email to see if you have already arranged a pickup.
We are also able to pick up guests from Te Anau, from the RealNZ Visitor Centre, 85 Lakefront Drive, Te Anau 9640. Accommodation pickups in Te Anau are not available.
Car seats are not mandatory on our coaches and we do not have them available for hire. If you want to bring a car seat for your child on the coach, you are more than welcome but you must provide your own.
The coach to Milford Sound takes between 4-5 hours from Queenstown and between 2-3 from Te Anau. These times includes stops in Te Anau, and along the Milford Road for photos, scenery, and wildlife. The journey back is slightly faster, as we make fewer stops. Sit back, relax and watch the magnificent views roll by on our coach.
Both paid and free parking are available in Milford Sound. The main car park in Milford Sound is the closest to the Visitor Terminal and is clearly signposted as you enter the small village centre. It is only a 5 - 10-minute walk along a beautiful path with views of the fiord and costs an hourly rate of $10. The free parking is slightly further away from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, about a 25-minute stroll along a scenic forested pathway and is located at Deepwater Basin Road. You should allow 45 minutes to 1 hour to park your vehicle and transfer to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, where you should check-in for your cruise 20 minutes prior to departure.
When we are informed in advance about guests with hindered mobility, we make every effort to mitigate the impact by assigning rooms in proximity to the main areas. However, it’s important to note that our vessels are not optimally equipped for potential needs. While we extend a warm welcome to individuals with impaired mobility, our vessels all have at least one sea sill that the guests will need to navigate. None have fully accessible bathrooms on board. However, there are accessible bathrooms at the Milford terminal. Below are the vessel descriptions based on accessibility:
The Sovereign: Our most accessible, though guests still need to be able to navigate a sea-sill, and it can’t accommodate electric wheelchairs due to turnaround space.
Milford Haven: Guests need to navigate a sea-sill and will be confined to the café level; there is an outdoor viewing deck on the same level, which can be accessed via a sea-sill but turning in a wheelchair can be tight.
Milford Mariner: Not recommended for wheelchair users due to steep, narrow stairs to the main viewing deck and high sea-sills.
The Sinbad: Semi-accessible bathroom on board but accessed over high sea-sills, no access to the top deck.
We can cater to dietary requirements on the cruises. Please let us know what requirements you have when you make your booking, and we can make sure there are options for you.
Milford Sound can be a cold and wet place, but that doesn’t mean you need to be! Pack for most weather outcomes, like a rain jacket, a warm layer, sunscreen, and a sunhat, and you’ll be comfortable for whatever the weather brings.
Aside from road closure due to snow, the Milford Sound cruise is likely to go ahead in most weather. Very strong wind is usually the only weather to cause cancellations, but Milford Sound is typically sheltered from wind and rough tides. In Milford Sound, we welcome heavy rain, as it brings out the hundreds of waterfalls.