Milford Sound Overnight Cruises

Spend the night aboard the iconic Milford Mariner and wake up to dawn in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. It’s the ultimate Milford Sound experience!

  • Duration: 1 night
  • Enjoy accommodation in private cabins with ensuite bathrooms or bunk-style compartments
  • 3-course buffet dinner and cooked breakfast prepared by our on-board chef
  • Choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or small boat
  • Specialist nature guide on board
  • Wildlife sighting opportunities – seals, penguins and dolphins
  • Coach connections available from Te Anau and Queenstown
  • Family bunk rooms available - please contact us directly on 0800 65 65 01 or [email protected]

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More Information

This overnight cruise through the heart of Fiordland provides astonishing views and the ultimate Milford Sound adventure.

You’ll start by departing from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon before cruising through Milford Sound accompanied by our specialist nature guide. They’ll explain the history and geology of the area and be on hand to answer your questions.

This cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife – you’re bound to encounter seals and, if you’re lucky, maybe dolphins and penguins too.

The Milford Mariner then anchors in a sheltered cove. From here you can join the guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft (small boat) or kayaks. If you prefer, you can simply relax on deck and soak in the beauty of this amazing place. If you’re feeling brave there’s always the option of a refreshing swim too. All activities are weather dependent. 

As evening falls, you’ll enjoy a delicious carvery buffet in the dining saloon – a feast prepared freshly by our on-site chef. Then it’s time to relax in the company of your fellow traveller, indulge in some star-gazing and story-sharing or simply retire to your private cabin.

The next day you’ll be able to dig into a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (weather permitting) and exploring more of the fiord.

Things you should know

  • The trip duration is for 1 night
  • Accommodation onboard the Milford Mariner (sleeps 64):
    • Private cabins with ensuite bathrooms - twin, double or single occupancy (a single passenger must pay sole occupancy rate)
    • Quad share bunk-style compartments with ensuites
  • Three course buffet dinner including appetisers, soups, salads, hot dishes and a selection of desserts and cheeses (vegetarian options available)
  • A full buffet breakfast with cooked and continental options is served
  • There is a licensed bar on board. Due to the remote location, we can only accept cash
  • Kayaking and tender craft (small boat) activities included

Extra Information

  • Duvets, sheets and towels provided
  • Suitable for all ages, with the exception of infants in quad share
  • Complimentary tea and coffee is available

Departure Times

The trip leaves from the Milford Sound Terminal at 4.00pm and returns by 9.15am the following day. 

You are required to check-in at the RealNZ counter 30min prior to departure.

Getting there

The journey to Milford Sound is just as spectacular as the destination itself. Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau by road. 


Overnight parking is available in the Realnz coach area outside of the Milford Terminal for $30, from 3.30pm until 11am the following morning. This can be paid by card or paywave inside the terminal building.

Free parking is available at Deep Water Basin Road. Guests have the ability to drop luggage and other passengers off, head to Deep Water Basin Road and park there (free of charge), walking down to the terminal after doing so and joining their overnight cruise. This walk takes approximately 20 minutes and is marked.

Guests should always allow extra time for themselves to check in and board their vessels.

By far the most satisfying way to experience Milford (or Doubtful) Sound is to do an overnight cruise; it gives you more time in the fjord when it's at its best—first thing in the morning and early evening.

What to bring

Only one carry-on bag is recommended for passenger convenience and for safety reasons.  Don't forget the following:

  • Non-slip walking shoes/boots 
  • Waterproof jacket *
  • Warm sweater/fleece jacket
  • Change of clothes *
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Insect repellent *
  • Swimwear (optional)
  • Camera
  • Cash for bar and snacks
  • Personal medication including for asthma and allergies

* Essential items if you are doing any water activities.

Overnight cruise experience like no other

Milford Mariner

About the Milford Mariner

The Milford Mariner is a purpose built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords

  • Sleeps 64
  • Private cabins with ensuites (twin or double bed configuration)
  • Limited quad-share bunk-style compartments with ensuites (Call to book)
  • Spacious viewing decks and observation lounge
  • Dining saloon and licensed bar
  • Carries 30 kayaks and 2 tender craft onboard


In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

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RealNZ | Milford Sound Mariner Overnight Cruise

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