Milford Sound is often the highlight for many visitors in New Zealand. The breathtaking glacier-carved fiord is far from ordinary and deserves an extraordinary visit.
At Southern Discoveries, we can take you on an unforgettable Milford Sound cruise no matter the experience you choose. However, there is one way to make your already unforgettable trip even better – and that’s with a helicopter flight!
A helicopter flight to Milford Sound is a once in a lifetime experience, so if it isn’t already, add it to your bucket list and get ready for a wild ride!
Queenstown to Milford Sound travel options
The journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound can be travelled a few different ways. In fact, there’s actually no way to experience them all (unless of course you come back and see us more than once!). But in case you’re wondering, here are your four choices for getting to and from Milford Sound:
Travelling to Milford Sound by coach is the most popular way, and we may be biased, but our coaches are the best! They come with highly-rated commentary, comfortable seats – oh, and we stop at all the most stunning places along the way!
The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound takes roughly four and a half hours by coach. But trust us, it’s best to take your time on this drive. The surrounding scenery will take your breath away.
Yep, that’s right, you can drive yourself to Milford Sound before joining one of our cruises. It’s not that we don’t recommend this option, it’s just we’d hate to see you miss all the stunning places along the road to Milford Sound! So if you do decide to drive yourself, be sure to do some research ahead of time to know where to pull over for the best views, waterfalls, and hikes!
A scenic flight to Milford Sound has to be one of the most spectacular ways of getting to Milford Sound from Queenstown.
Flights leave from Queenstown and take roughly 40 minutes to get to Milford. So, it’s definitely a lot quicker than a coach ride! We always recommend our customers do one way on the coach if possible – then you’ve seen Milford from the ground, water and in the sky!
Last but certainly not least, we have our crown jewel and what could be the most exciting way to travel to Milford Sound – a Milford Sound helicopter flight. Helicopter flights from Queenstown to Milford take about 45 minutes, and you’ll be sure to get an exhilarating, beautiful journey out of it. We have a variety of packages, which include a helicopter flight and our scenic cruise when you get to Milford. We’ll go into more depth on the packages available below!
As we’ve said above, Southern Discoveries can make your trip to and from Milford Sound amazing regardless of how you get there. But keep reading and I’m sure you’ll be on the next helicopter flight there!
Helicopter flight options to Milford Sound
At Southern Discoveries we have two helicopter flight options available to get to Milford Sound. Both are very different but they share the same unforgettable experience!
Milford Sound Scenic Cruise & Alpine Heli Landing
The first option is our Scenic Cruise & Alpine Heli Landing and it’s our biggest and longest helicopter adventure that starts in Queenstown. You’ll wake up in your hotel, get picked up and taken to your ride for the day. From there, it’s a scenic heli flight to Milford Sound before joining our Milford Sound Scenic Cruise. After that, it’s back to the chopper for a stunning alpine landing in Fiordland National Park before returning to Queenstown.
This adventure takes around four hours and departs from Queenstown’s airport. It includes one magical alpine landing as well as your cruise, pickup and drop off (central Queenstown) and both flights for only $1105 for adults and $775 for children. It’s the ultimate Milford Sound package all in one big adventure!
Milford Sound, Glacier & Beach Landing
Your next option is the Milford, Glacier & Beach Landing and which is all about getting air time! This flight package also leaves from Queenstown and flies to Milford Sound and the entire length of the fiord. Once you reach the Tasman Sea, it’s time for a beach landing on the wild West Coast of New Zealand. Here you’ll visit a part of the country very few ever get the chance to see!
After that it’s back to the fiord where we’ll make our second landing and give you the chance to explore the stunning Milford foreshore! After a short walk and photo opportunity, it’s back to the helicopter for your final alpine landing in Fiordland National Park before returning to Queenstown.
This flight package takes around two and a half hours. There are three landings included in this flight as well as hotel pickup and drop off (central Queenstown) for only $1050 for adults and $735 for children.
What will you see on a helicopter flight to Milford?
It’s a good question, and for someone who hasn’t been to Milford Sound before you may be wondering if the views are actually worth the hype. Well, of course it’s worth the hype! This unofficial eighth Wonder of the World is arguably (if you ask us) the most beautiful place on earth.
Just in case you’re not convinced, here are some of the highlights you can expect to see on your Milford Sound helicopter flight:
Mount Tutoko is a very special place to visit in Fiordland National Park. It’s the highest mountain in the Darran Mountains and without a chopper, it’s impossible to reach for the average person.
Mitre Peak is easily one of the most photographed mountains in New Zealand. You’ll find her photo in every gift shop around the country. However, on your heli flight you’ll not only see the view of Mitre Peak everyone else does, but you’ll also see this stunning peak from a whole new angle up in the sky! If you think Mitre Peak is impressive from the ground, you’re in for a real treat!
We’d love to be able to tell you exactly how many waterfalls you’ll see as you cruise and fly through Milford, but as it turns out, it’s different every single day! During and after the rain you’re likely to see hundreds – yes, hundreds of waterfalls! After a couple of dry days though, many of them dry up. That being said, there are some permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound, so we guarantee you’ll see quite a few even in the driest weather!
Snow Capped Mountains
Between Queenstown and Milford Sound you’ll fly over the most mesmerising section of the Southern Alps. You’ll see more mountain peaks than you can count and enjoy incredible views of alpine lakes, deep valleys and of course, snow-capped mountains.
Once you arrive: Go on a Milford Sound Boat Cruise!
After the excitement of your helicopter flight, a relaxing boat cruise through the fiord is the perfect thing to do.
Our Milford Sound Scenic Cruise is aboard our largest vessel in Milford. Our large indoor and outdoor viewing decks are suited for viewing every angle of Milford and with our comfortable indoor lounges, there are plenty of places to relax.
Our Scenic Cruise travels the entire length of the fiord. Onboard, our captain will provide interesting commentary teaching you all there is to know about Milford Sound and why it’s not actually a sound at all!
Also onboard you can enjoy a freshly prepared lunch and cool off at our fully licensed bar. FREE tea and coffee is available throughout the cruise and on selected departures, you can have your commentary in Mandarin or Japanese.
What to bring on a helicopter flight
Good Walking Shoes – On all of our helicopter flights it’s important you bring some good walking shoes. No open-toed shoes are allowed nor are they ideal for your adventure ahead.
Warm Clothing – It may be warm on the ground but up in the sky and when we land you’re exposed to more wind and cooler temperatures. The best clothing you can bring is lots of layers, that way you’ll be comfortable in all weather conditions.
Windproof layer – As mentioned above, up in the sky you’re less protected from the wind. So a windproof layer is an ideal way to keep out the cold!
Waterproof jacket – Milford Sound rains over 200 days of the year. It may not be forecasted to rain the day you go but it’s always best to be prepared – the weather can change in an instant!
Camera – This goes without saying, but just as a reminder, be sure to bring your camera and take some photos to remember your trip! There are charging ports on our coaches and boats if your phone gets low on battery, too.
Sunglasses and sunscreen – The New Zealand sun is harsh. Sunscreen will protect your skin and sunglasses will make sure you don’t miss a thing! Don’t be fooled by overcast or wet weather either, the sun is always capable of doing damage.
Can you just get a helicopter one way?
Yes, of course you can! We understand scenic flights aren’t always in everyone’s budgets so we came up with a way to enjoy the best of both worlds on our Coach/Cruise/Fly packages. These packages are not only cheaper but you’ll get to see Milford Sound from every angle possible and not miss out on the stunning stops on the road to Milford! Helicopter and scenic flights are optional add-ons – just select that option when you book online.
How does summer compare to winter on a Milford helicopter ride?
No matter the season, Milford Sound is beautiful. With that said, each season does have its ups and downs. In the winter, temperatures are freezing but that blanket of snow on the mountains will be thicker than ever making it a beautiful time of year.
In summer, temperatures are much warmer. So much so you’ll be tempted to have a swim in the fiord! Of course, most of the snow-capped mountains disappear, but with longer days there’s more time to explore.
Overall, it really doesn’t matter when you go. So, get some time off work and come see us in Milford Sound!
The only thing that’s left is for you to do is book a helicopter ride & scenic cruise with Southern Discoveries and join us on the adventure of a lifetime!