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In every sight and sound that exists in nature, there is always one underlying truth: it’s there for all to enjoy. Whether it’s the calm steadiness of mountains or the roaring of waterfalls, nature’s beauty is there for everyone. Places and experiences that surround New Zealand’s natural wonders should all aspire to make the exploration into our environment as accessible as possible. Queenstown is a great destination for people with access needs, with accessible accommodation options, adaptive snowsports options at popular mountains, inclusive tourism specialists working in the area, and handy guides like this for people with access needs“Accessible accommodation’s good and plentiful in Queenstown, everything from backpackers to five-star hotels,” says Jezza Williams, inclusive adventure advocate and accessible tour organiser. “Queenstown is hilly so it’s a good idea to book accommodation close to the centre of town, so you’re near all the action.” At Southern Discoveries we specialise in getting people outdoors and out of Queenstown and take pride in being stewards of our guest’s connection with Fiordland National Park. We are ensuring that we do our best to make one of the most rugged and remote places in New Zealand accessible and inclusive. We believe that everyone, no matter their abilities, should have access to the wonders of nature.

Wheelchair and ramp access on Milford cruise

Southern Discoveries offers scenic cruises in Milford Sound and multiple transport options into Fiordland National Park. When combined with transport, the cruise adventure is a full-day trip from Queenstown.

The Pride of Milford is one of our vessels that you will see cruising Milford Sound regularly on day trips. From the main wharf where you will board the cruise, there is ramp access and wheelchair access onto the Pride of Milford. From there, moving around the vessel during your Milford Sound experience on the water is accessible both inside and outside on the outer decks. For people with access needs, the Pride of Milford provides grand views from all angles.

Please note, there are wheelchair-accessible toilets at the Visitor Terminal, but not on the vessel.

Accessibility on our coaches

Our comfortable coaches are a great option for travelling to Milford Sound. You can sit back and relax while the driving is handled for you, focusing only on the vast views outside your window along Milford Road.

Our Southern Discoveries coaches have storage space for wheelchairs and walkers with passengers needing to navigate the steps up into the coach independently or with assistance from their travel companions.

Accessibility while kayaking

Opting to add a kayak adventure into your Milford Sound itinerary is a fantastic way to experience the flora, fauna, expansive views, and potential wildlife encounters up close. With an intimate view from the water’s surface and the thrill of navigating your way through such a dramatic backdrop, kayaking in Milford Sound is a great addition to any visit.

Our kayaks are built for an easy, relaxing paddle for all skill levels and when starting the trip, we use a kayak lift to lower you into the water. This makes our kayaking tour a largely accessible activity for most abilities and family members.

Language Commentary

Both our coach transport and Milford cruise tours include knowledgeable and interesting commentary about the local environment, wildlife, and indigenous

Māori culture that has deep roots in our natural world.

Many visitors can access this commentary in their first language through a multi-language app in real-time, ensuring no piece of enriching information gets lost in translation and making it a more inclusive experience for our diverse travellers from across the world. Commentary is available in Chinese (simplified) French, German, Japanese, Korean (South Korea), Portuguese, and Spanish.

As we strive for inclusivity, let’s continue to break down barriers and ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, can experience the uniqueness of New Zealand landscapes. Whether you’re boarding a cruise with us, hopping on a coach, or paddling through the waters, know that the wonders of nature await you, accessible to those who seek them.

Check out this awesome video from Pete Donnelly’s two-week South Island holiday organised by MakingTrax Foundation. On this solo trip, he drove 3872km in a Campervan, 2 skydives, 4 kayak trips, quad biking, Nevis Swing with AJ Hackett Bungy, paragliding, jet sprint boating with Oxbow, a helicopter tour and more!

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Cruises Day Trips Kayaking Southern Discoveries Milford Sound Queenstown Coach tours Family trips Milford Road trip