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What to pack for your Milford Sound day-trip

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Southern Discoveries
Milford Sound
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Milford Sound is a mesmerising fjord nestled in New Zealand’s South Island, known for its rugged and untouched beauty. Our Coach and Cruise options are the perfect way to explore Milford Sound from Queensotwn, with transport, lunch, and nature cruise all taken care of for you.

For the smaller details that will make your adventure truly smooth and remarkable, we’ve listed some recommended packing tips and details that will make your adventure truly remarkable. From weather-appropriate clothing, including rainproof jackets and warm layers, to practical items like sunblock and insect repellent, we can help you be well-prepared to explore this South Island must-do.

Pack a spare change of clothes

Lunch is sorted!

Let’s start with something that you can do to lighten your load. Choose to add a delicious picnic lunch or To Kai buffet lunch during your cruise when you book, with free tea and coffee available onboard. The food is fresh and delicious and it means one less thing to pack.

Snack money

Keep some New Zealand currency or a card on hand to purchase a hot drink or road trip snacks in Te Anau at your coach stop on the way to Milford Sound. Snacks are also available to purchase onboard your Nature Cruise.


Waterproof layers

With a mean annual rainfall of 6,813mm and rains recorded on 182 days a year on average, Milford Sound is the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand, and one of the wettest places in the world! Not to mention that getting up close and personal with Stirling Falls will have its own share of spray. To comfortably enjoy the dramatic sights and extra waterfalls that the rain brings, a waterproof jacket should be an essential on your packing list. As a plan b, you can also purchase a poncho at the cruise terminal in Milford Sound.
Waterproof Clothing

A spare change of clothes

Despite your waterproof layers, your clothes may still encounter some rogue spray or a sudden downpour, so it’s always a good idea to pack a full spare outfit to make the coach back to Queenstown as comfortable and dry as possible. If you want to experience the falls to their fullest on the outside decks, a towel wouldn’t go amiss.

Accessories for the elements

If you’re exploring the majesty of Milford Sound in winter or there’s a strong spring breeze, packing a warm beanie, gloves, and neck covering will enable you to spend more time outside on the cruise viewing deck appreciating the unencumbered scenery. If you do run cold, reusable hand warmers to keep in your pockets are commonly available from many Queenstown outdoor retailers or ski stores.
Equally important on fine days are a sunhat and sunglasses so you can stare at the views minus any glare and unrelenting rays.
Milford Sounds Daypack



The New Zealand sun can be intense, even on cloudy days or in winter. Sunscreen with a strong SPF to prevent sunburn and potential long-term damage should be in your backpack for any New Zealand adventure.

Insect Repellent

Milford Sound is home to various insects, especially in the warmer months. Insect repellent helps keep mosquitoes and sandflies at bay and keep you more comfortable.


Phone or camera

One of the main appeals of a Milford Sound cruise and the coach route is the breathtaking and unique scenery. Capture these memories for yourself and friends back home by remembering your phone or camera for photos and videos. To record every part of the day in rain or shine, we also recommend bringing a drybag or special waterproof phone case.


SD is the first Milford Operator to have a FREE multi-language app available for the coach ride. The app is GPS triggered and includes 30 pieces of informative commentary along the journey. If you don’t have headphones you can purchase them at the Queenstown or Te Anau pick-up points.

The App is translated into the following languages:

  • English is the Primary Language
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean (South Korea)
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Download the app to your phone here:
Google: Southern Discoveries Google App
Apple: Southern Discoveries Apple App

Or scan here:

Souther Discoveries App QR Code

Power bank or charging cable

If you’re relying on your phone for images or communication, you can’t have it run out of juice at the worst movement. If you don’t have a power bank, you can still pack a phone charger and plug in to the coach’s USB charging ports. (Do the buses have charging ports?)


Pack all of this in a comfortable day bag or backpack with some extra space for souvenirs and snacks you may pick up in Te Anau. Not only will a solid backpack fit all of your essentials, it will also allow you to be handsfree while you explore, photograph, or simply ogle at the eighth wonder of the world.

Milford Sound day-trip packing list:

  • Waterproof jacket/ poncho
  • Waterproof trousers (recommended)
  • Spare top (optional)
  • Spare bottoms (optional)
  • Spare base layers (optional)
  • Spare shoes (optional)
  • Towel (optional)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Sunhat
  • Insect repellent
  • Headphones
  • Power Bank/ charger
  • Phone/ camera
  • Drybag or waterproof phone case
  • Comfortable backpack

By bringing items that make you more comfortable and being well-prepared for a full-day adventure, you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty of this breathtaking destination.

Image sources:
Packed backpack:
Others: Selena Wright

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