Milford Sound

Where do the Milford Sound cruises leave from?
All cruises leave from the wharf at the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal and return to the wharf following the cruise.

How long does it take to get from Queenstown to Milford?
It takes approximately five hours to get to Milford from Queenstown depending on the time of year and road conditions.

How long does it take to get from Te Anau to Milford?
It takes approximately two hours to get to Milford from Te Anau depending on the time of year and road conditions.

Will I see wildlife?
Milford Sound has an abundance of wildlife and is home to New Zealand fur seals and bottlenose dolphins year round. Rare Dusky dolphins are also known to visit the fiord. The world’s rarest penguin, the Fiordland crested penguin, visits Milford during the breeding season (November) and moulting season (March/April). While there is wildlife in Milford Sound, we can’t guarantee sightings as these are wild animals in their natural habitat. A visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory offers more wildlife viewing with an abundance of sea life below the surface.

Are there sandflies?
There are sandflies in Milford Sound. To avoid being bitten, bring mosquito spray with you and wear long sleeve clothing and trousers. Mosquito spray is available for purchase from the Blue Duck Café & Bar in Milford Sound.

Do you provide disabled/wheelchair access?
There are disabled parking spaces outside the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal building. The only vessel with wheelchair access is Pride of Milford (Milford Sound Scenic Cruise) where access to the vessel is by ramp. There are no wheelchair accessible toilets onboard the vessel, instead these are located in the cruise terminal building.

What’s the weather like in Milford?
Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world with an average annual rainfall of 7 metres per year. Rainfall can reach 250 millimetres in 24 hours and creates dozens of temporary waterfalls (as well as a number of more permanent ones) that cascade down the cliff faces, some reaching a thousand metres in height, and is why it’s renowned for its spectacular waterfalls and rainforest. The temperature in Milford can vary depending on the season and can go from an average high of 19C in summer (Dec – Feb) to 9C in winter (Jun – Aug). All our vessels have spacious indoor areas with comfortable seating for cruising in all weather conditions.

What clothes should I wear/bring?
Due to the changeable nature of the weather in Milford, it’s a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket, warm clothing and wear comfortable shoes. Raincoats are provided for passengers on Encounter Nature Cruises and Discover More Cruises.

Where is the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory?
The Underwater Observatory is located in Harrison Cove, 10 minutes cruise distance from the Milford wharf. It is only accessible by boat and visited in conjunction with a cruise. If you upgrade your cruise to include the Underwater Observatory, your cruise vessel will drop you at the Underwater Observatory and continue on to the Milford wharf. The pick-up vessel arrives at the Underwater Observatory around 45 minutes later to take you back to the Milford Sound wharf.

Do you operate on Christmas Day?
All trips operate 365 days a year.

Is there anywhere to get a coffee and snack in Milford?
The Discover Milford Sound Information Centre & Cafe is located in the Milford Sound village.

Is there any other important driving information we need to know?
From May to September, winter driving conditions apply and you are required to carry snow chains. No petrol stations are available past Te Anau, so fill up before you leave. Car parking information is outlined below.

What is a Milford Sound Levy?
A Milford Sound Tourism and Department of Conservation levy of $10 per adult is included in the price of all Southern Discoveries Milford Sound experiences. This levy goes towards maintaining facilities in Milford Sound and conservation projects in Fiordland. If you would like to find out more about Milford Sound Tourism find out more here.

Do we have to pay for carparking in Milford Sound?
Parking in the main Milford Sound car park costs $10 per hour.

  • You must pre-pay by credit card on arrival.
  • If required you can top up your car parking payment in the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal.
  • The main car park is a 10 minute walk from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal.
  • Most cruise durations range from 1 hr 30 mins up to 4 hrs 30 mins not including the overnight cruise options.
  • There are a limited number of free car parks in the Deepwater Basin Park & Ride area, situated about 2 kms from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, with a complimentary shuttle service departing every 15 to 20 minutes to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal. Allow an extra 30 minutes on your travel time if you choose this option.

If you choose to drive to Milford Sound please allow at least 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your cruise departure to find a car park and make your way to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal to check-in 20 minutes prior to your cruise departure.

As an alternative to paying for parking, you have the option to travel to Milford Sound from Queenstown and Te Anau by coach on one of our Milford Sound Coach & Cruise day trips – you’ll save on both money and hassle!

For further information about car parking, please visit
You can also visit for the latest Milford Road status information.

I’m new to kayaking. What should I know ahead of time?
We love sharing our kayaking experience with beginners. Your trained kayak guide will help you with your gear and match you with the right boat for your kayaking experience. Kayaking is fun and easy to learn and our kayaks are built for an easy, relaxing paddle for all skill levels.

Will we go kayaking even if it’s raining?
Definitely! Kayaking in the rain can be a fun and exciting experience. Your trained kayak guide will assess the weather before and during your kayaking trip and will take appropriate measures to ensure your safety.

Do I need to bring any special gear or clothing with me for my kayaking experience?
We recommend you dress appropriately for the weather in Milford Sound. On sunny, warm days we suggest a hat, sunglasses, and clothing that you’ll feel comfortable in while kayaking. On cooler, rainy days we recommend a rain jacket and hat, quick-dry clothing and an insulating layer to help you stay warm. As Milford is a rainforest, there’s a good chance that you’ll get wet while kayaking. We will supply wet weather gear.

I can’t swim. Will I be safe in my kayak?
No problem. You’ll be fitted with a life jacket, and your group will be led by a trained kayak guide who will ensure your safety on the water.

Can I bring my camera or smart phone with me in the kayak?
Yes. We have dry bags available for you to borrow to help protect your personal items from getting wet. However it is up to you to ensure its proper use to protect your gear as we can’t take responsibility for any damaged equipment.

What are the changing areas like and do you supply towels?
There are limited changing areas at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. If you’d like to change into your kayaking gear prior to your cruise, we recommend using the restrooms in the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal. Yes, we do supply towels at the end of your kayak trip.

Where can I leave my belongings while I am kayaking?
Your personal belongings will be stored in the kayak shed at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. While this area is monitored by staff, we suggest you leave all valuable items such as wallets, passports, keys, jewellery etc. in a safe and secure location back in Milford Sound.

Where will we go on our kayaking experience?
Your trained kayak guide will take you through Harrison Cove, a sheltered area of water on the north side of the fiord. Stay close to your guide and along the way you’ll learn more about the environment and history of Milford Sound.

Your kayaking trip departs from the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. Here are a few things you can do on your cruise to prepare for your kayaking experience before you arrive at the Underwater Observatory:

  • Place your red kayak pass around your neck so it is visible to staff
  • Use the toilets on board the boat
  • Apply sunscreen and/or insect repellent
  • Make sure you have your camera ready to record your adventure!

Milford Sound Cruise Map

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