What to do in Milford Sound cruise

Milford Sound Boat Cruises

No visit to Milford Sound is complete without a  boat cruise around the fiord. This is an iconic NZ tourism experience.

Which Cruise Option Suits You?

Depending on whether you’re after a short, scenic cruise or a longer more nature-focused option, there’s a range of boat cruises on offer in Milford Sound to suit your preferences. We choose to work with Southern Discoveries, who are known for their quality vessels and top-notch service.

Encounter Nature – A 2hr 15min cruise of Milford on a small intimate boat

A local favourite, this is the most popular cruise with Milford Sound Lodge guests. Low maximum numbers means a more intimate and personal Milford Sound experience and by choosing a morning or afternoon departure time, you’ll miss the crowds completely. Enjoy the knowledge of an onboard nature guide who will provide detailed, interesting information about Milford Sound’s flora and fauna.
Recommended for: Guests who want an authentic, personal Milford Sound cruising experience. 

Scenic – A 1hr 45min cruise of Milford on a large catamaran style boat

A shorter cruising experience, enjoy the comforts of a large, spacious catamaran with generous viewing decks and comfortable indoor seating.
Recommended for: Families and guests who prefer a very stable vessel

Discover More – Includes Milford Cruise, Lunch, Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory

This is the Encounter Nature Cruise with the addition of a visit to the Discovery Centre and gourmet picnic lunch on board the vessel. Located in Harrison Cove, the Discovery Centre is a floating underwater observatory that allows visitors to experience the magic of Milford Sound’s inky waters.
Recommended for: Guests looking for a very personal Milford Sound experience that’s the whole package

Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory

Available to add to all cruises, a 45min tour of Milford’s underwater world.

Book your choice of cruise in combination with your Milford Sound accommodation or make it easy and book our Bed & Breakfast Cruise Package 

Whatever the weather

Every cruise on Milford Sound rewards passengers with spectacular scenery and unique wildlife encounters.

  • Sunny days provide sensational views of the snow covered peaks and glacial ice fields towering hundreds of meters above you.
  • Cloudy / misty days provide moody vistas with glimpses of peaks and waterfalls, creating a totally enchanting feel.
  • Rainy days are something to experience with waterfalls plunging from all directions, some sending spray hundreds of metres out into the fiord.
  • Learn more about the incredible array of Marine Life that call Milford Sound home here


Things to consider when booking your cruise

  • Vessel Size – Boats come in all different shapes and sizes, from small and cozy to large and luxurious and everything in between.
  • Length of Cruise – The distance each cruise covers is always the same, but on longer duration cruises there are more opportunities for the vessel to take its time exploring attractions or viewing wildlife.  The shortest cruise take just over 1 3/4 hours; the longest is 3 hours.
  • Timing of Cruise – Morning and late afternoon cruises almost always have space available. Daytime cruises fill up very quickly. We suggest booking in advance to secure the cruise departure time that you prefer.
  • Discovery Centre – There is the option of visiting the Discovery Centre, allowing you to venture below the surface of the fiord to experience the rare marine flora that occurs in these cold, dark waters. (Some cruises include this option in their price while others have an additional cost of $36 per adult for the visit.)

Make it easy when you book our popular Taste of Milford 1-night Experience below, only available online.