Southern Discoveries is dedicated to preserving the beauty of Milford Sound for future generations.

We maintain an ongoing commitment to the conservation of our environment through sponsorship of the Sinbad Sanctuary Project and the Tawaki Project in partnership with the Department of Conservation, Fiordland Conservation Trust and the University of Otago.

We are a member of the Tourism Sustainability Commitment and we are Qualmark Gold endorsed, meaning we are among the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand.

The Department of Conservation approves all of our Milford Sound adventures, and a portion of ticket sales goes towards their conservation efforts.

We encourage all of our guests to learn about the Tiaki Promise so they can join us in keeping New Zealand beautiful!

Aotearoa’s Tiaki Promise

Nau Mai, Haere Mai Ki Aotearoa – Welcome to New Zealand

Southern Discoveries encourages all visitors, and citizens of, New Zealand to practice the Tiaki Promise while travelling in New Zealand.

Tiaki means to care for people and place. The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now, and for future generations. New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it. By following the Tiaki Promise, you are making a commitment to New Zealand to act as a guardian, protecting and preserving our home.

How to care for Aotearoa New Zealand:

  • Protect Nature
  • Keep NZ Clean
  • Drive Carefully
  • Be Prepared
  • Show Respect
Tiaki Promise

Care for land, sea and nature, tread lightly and leave no trace.
Travel safely, show care and consideration for all.
Respect culture, travel with an open heart and mind.

Find out more

Our Environment

Environmental Policy

Our commitment to environmentally-friendly practice includes:

  • A mammal viewing permit issued by the New Zealand Department of Conservation to ensure the protection of all mammal life in Milford Sound. Not all operators have this permit
  • New Zealand coastal permits are issued for all vessels. This ensures not only safe operating practices, but that all vessels operate below certain noise levels and all emissions are closely monitored
  • Our vessels are powered by efficient engines ensuring less diesel is consumed reducing our carbon footprint
  • We practice a zero-tolerance of discharges into the fiord
  • No detergents are used when washing vessels to protect the fiord from pollutants
  • Japanese Obento boxes, Thali Indian and Gourmet Picnic Lunches are all prepared in reusable packs
  • Anti-waste packaging purchasing decisions are mandatory across the business thereby reducing the amount of waste being removed from Milford Sound resulting in the reduction of fuel required to remove waste
  • Our brochures are printed in New Zealand using environmentally-friendly paper and vegetable-based, mineral-oil free inks

Qualmark Gold

Southern Discoveries is a Qualmark Gold endorsed visitor activity. Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. By carrying the Qualmark Gold logo, we’ve been independently assessed as a professional and trustworthy tourism activity.
Read more …

Department of Conservation (DOC) Approved

A portion of every Milford Sound trip we sell goes directly to the Department of Conservation to support their conservation work.

Tourism Sustainability Commitment

Southern Discoveries is a member of the Tourism Sustainability Commitment, an industry-led pledge with the vision of leading the world in sustainable tourism.

Sinbad Sanctuary Project

Southern Discoveries is proud to have partnered with the Fiordland Conservation Trust and Department of Conservation as principal sponsor of the Sinbad Sanctuary Project for more than 10 years. Sinbad Sanctuary is a major pest control programme helping native birds and lizards in Milford Sound to flourish, with a long term aim to reintroduce species that have been forced out by predators.

The Sinbad Gully benefits from a natural barrier of steep terrain, combined with a cold, wet climate which has limited the invasion of mammalian predators. These attributes have contributed to making it a safer refuge for the rare lizard species such as the Sinbad and Mahogany skinks and the Cascade gecko. All three were only recently discovered in the Sinbad Gully and the Sinbad skink is known only to the Sinbad Gully.

In the 1970s, Sinbad Gully was home to the last known New Zealand kākāpō (the world’s rarest parrot) living on the mainland. Southern Discoveries financial support and volunteer work are also helping protect native species like the whio (blue duck), kiwi, tui and bellbirds.

Sinbad Sanctuary in the Media

Sinbad Sanctuary Project – 10 year anniversary
2 May 2019
Read full media release

International Day for Biodiversity 
22 May 2019
Duncan Garner from The AM Show interviewed DOC Project Manager Monique Van Rensburg about the Sinbad Sanctuary Project this morning, which is the official United Nations-sanctioned International Day for Biodiversity.
Watch the video here

Sinbad Sanctuary Donations

If you would like to support the work of Southern Discoveries, the Fiordland Conservation Trust and the Department of Conservation with the Sinbad Sanctuary Project, donations can be made at the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory or when you make a booking with Southern Discoveries.

Tawaki Project

The Tawaki Project is an internationally-renowned research programme, studying of one of the world’s rarest penguins, the tawaki or Fiordland crested penguin. Southern Discoveries has provided full logistical support to the University of Otago research project since 2014, facilitating a study that would have otherwise not been possible in Milford Sound.
The project is focused on unearthing new findings to better understand the species, their breeding behaviours and breeding conditions. The tawaki is one of three penguin species that live and breed on the New Zealand mainland. However, they are the least studied species as breeding occurs in less accessible regions.

Since research began in Milford Sound, it has been concluded that there are around 180 tawaki breeding pairs in the area, twenty times more than estimates before research began.

Learn more