Against a backdrop of sheer waterfall-laced granite cliffs, the cruise boats plying the deep dark waters of Milford Sound are reduced to tiny dots in the distance, and fur seals laze on the rocks unnoticed and undisturbed. Though only one-tenth the size of the more southern Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound is Fiordland’s most visited fiord. Frequently shrouded by cloud and copious rain, Mitre Peak rises almost 1700 metres above the Sound’s waters. When it clears, it’s one of New Zealand’s most photographed sights. Milford Sound is New Zealand’s wettest inhabited place, but its average annual rainfall of over 6800mm has spectacular results. Waterfalls cascading down sheer rock faces form an upper layer of fresh tannin-stained water over its salt-water base, allowing deep water species such as black coral to grow at much shallower depths than usual. The Underwater Observatory, a stop-off point on some of the cruises, allows visitors to view life below the Sound’s dark surface. Tours leave throughout the day to cruise the length of the fiord, passing close to the base of Mitre Peak on the way. The sheer scale and pristine beauty of this region will leave visitors with an overwhelming sense of wonder. No wonder this is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist hotspotz.
Food and petrol
There’s surprisingly little commercial development at Milford Sound, so you’ll need to pack a picnic or pre-order a meal onboard your cruise, and remember to fill you petrol tank before you leave Te Anau.
Milford Sound Accommodation "Our Pick"
Good range of accommodation in Te Anau, 119 km south of Milford.
Milford Sound Lodge
Riverside chalets surrounded by forest and mountains, 12km from Milford. State Highway 94 +64 3 249 8071
No booking fees - Pay at hotel
Milford Sound Activities "Our Selection"
Boats of all sizes and shapes depart regularly from the Milford Wharf Visitor Centre, located a ten-minute walk away from the main car park. Have a browse and take your pick. Coach trips from Queenstown fill the mid-day cruises, so aim for an early morning or mid-afternoon (also less expensive) cruise if you’re travelling independently. Optional Milford Deep Underwater Observatory stop-offs are extra.
- Mitre Peak Cruises 03 249 8110
Cruises on 2 purpose built 20 metres vessels.
- Real Journeys 0 3 249 7416
Scenic and Nature Cruises on several different sized vessels,
- Real Journeys 03 249 7416
Double & Twin share or Quad-share.
- Rosco's Milford Sound Sea Kayaks 03 249 8500
- Fiordland Wilderness Experiences 03 249 7700
Fiordland Region - Milford Sound
ACCOMMODATION SPECIALS & GUEST REVIEWS
Aboard the Friendship Scenic Cruiser, Milford Sound (Piopiotahi)