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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 05 January, 2023
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

This gorgeous 22km long fjord – one of New Zealand’s most accessible – is hallmarked by beautiful upland scenery, crowned by the Mitre Peak. Despite the crowds, it remains an awe-inspiring landscape of snow-capped mountains, dense forests and spectacular waterfalls.

There are several bucket list ways you can get out into the wilderness and appreciate it in all its natural glory.

The most popular way is on a pleasure cruise along the Milford Sound waterway – justifiably ranked as one of New Zealand’s signature experiences. A range of cruises are available, from thrill rides on jetboats to gentle two-hour tours on historic steamboats. You can also take an overnight cruise along the entire fjord to the Tasman Sea.

You could take it all in from the water on a kayak, soar over Mitre Peak on a helicopter or spend 4-days hiking the world-renowned Milford Track around it, through pristine, fern-filled rainforest.

Price from: £10
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Milford Sound is 295kms (about a 4-hour drive from Queenstown). A number of organised tours depart from Queenstown – some involving a (much faster) flight to get there. If time allows, you can make your way down to Te Anau, the ‘gateway to the fjords’, 2.5 hours’ drive from Queenstown. For those who are self-driving, a public car park is located 10 minutes’ walk from the boat harbour. Air Fiordland operates regular flights from Queenstown to Milford Sound.

 

 

 

When to do it

Cruises operate all year round, seven days a week. Departure times vary by operator. The earliest cruises depart around 9am (summer) and 9.45am (winter). The last cruises depart around 3.30pm (summer) and 1.45pm (winter).

The access road gets clogged with cars and coach tours, so go early before the crowds. Australia and NZ school holidays are the peak tourism times; avoid if possible.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Morning Tea Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht from Te Anau

Morning Tea Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht from Te Anau

Te Anau

Join us for an elegant cruise on the historic motor yacht "Faith" on Lake Te Anau. This relaxed 3-hour experience includes a guide...

N145 | Rating 5 / 5 [58 ratings]

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Afternoon Te Anau Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht

Afternoon Te Anau Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht

Te Anau

Join this tour for an elegant cruise on the historic motor yacht "Faith" on Lake Te Anau. This relaxed 3-hour experience includes ...

N145 | Rating 5 / 5 [104 ratings]

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VIP Milford Sound All Inclusive Tour

VIP Milford Sound All Inclusive Tour

Te Anau

COACH Travel in luxury and ultimate comfort in our 18 seater Mercedes coach to Milford Sound. With air conditioning in Summer and heating i...

N158 | Rating 4.87 / 5 [144 ratings]

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Milford Sound Cruise from Queenstown or Te Anau

Milford Sound Cruise from Queenstown or Te Anau

Queenstown

An extended and leisurely cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea on a cruise designed for the free, independent traveler. Nature cruises ...

N169 | Rating 4.80 / 5 [105 ratings]

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