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This 2.5-hour Milford Sound cruise in UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park stops at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, accessible only by boat. Your midday cruise on a smaller boat travels outside of peak hours, offering prime viewing and more time on the water than other tours. Hear informative commentary from naturalist guides on board, and enjoy a provided picnic lunch. Upgrade to include a 1-hour kayak excursion and paddle Harrison Cove in a small-group limited to 12 people.


  • 2.5-hour boat cruise in Milford Sound with visit to the Discovery Center and Underwater Observatory, plus kayak option
  • Travel by boat through stunning Milford Sound, part of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park
  • Includes a stop at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory to observe marine life up close
  • Learn from expert guides about the history, wildlife, and geology of Milford Sound
  • Marvel at towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and abundant animal life of this glacier-carved landscape
  • Have the option to include a 1-hour guided kayak excursion limited to 12 people

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Most Milford Sound cruises can take upwards of 250 people. On this cruise, only 90 people are allowed onboard, making for a more relaxing experience as you travel at off-peak hours.

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour

Kayaking in Harrison's Cove, Milford Sound

Board your cruise boat at Milford Wharf for the 2.5-hour drive to Milford Sound. View the stunning landscape of World Heritage–listed Fiordland National Park through panoramic windows.

Your midday 2.5-hour cruise on the sparkling waters of the oft mist-shrouded Milford Sound is outside of peak tour hours, so you can thoroughly soak up the tranquil beauty of the fiord. Two onboard naturalists describe the natural landmarks, such as Mitre Peak, as you glide past cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs in this top New Zealand destination. 

Access the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory by boat for a 30-minute exploration of exhibitions on the fiord’s geology, history and wildlife. Descend 33 feet (10 meters) into an underwater world to find butterfly perch, blue cod, rare black coral and other sea creatures that inhabit Milford Sound.

Returning to your boat, indulge in a provided picnic lunch, ending your Milford Sound boat cruise at Milford Wharf. If option selected, hop on the coach to Te Anau with drop-off at your hotel.

Cruise and Kayak Upgrade to include a Milford Sound kayak trip with a small group, limited to 12 people. Follow a naturalist guide into the calm waters of Harrison Cove. Ogle at Pembroke Glacier and Harrison Valley as you paddle around for 1 hour before returning to the boat. Gear and instruction are provided; no prior kayaking experience necessary.

Customer Reviews

Lisa G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

This was one of our first excursions on the South Island. Though we were catching the tail end of summer in February -the weather was all over the place. It turned out we had the best weather on this day- the rest of the week visitors had to endure rain or clouds. The visitor center was easy to find -exchanged our vouchers for passes to board, eat lunch, and lanyards for kayaking. We rode on the top of the boat which was chilly in shady spots and warm in the sun. Great views all around- saw several waterfalls. Then we were able to see some wildlife-NZ fur seals along with dolphins. Once we arrived at the Discovery center, we immediately met up with our kayak guide, Simon. It was my first time kayaking so I was unsure of what I could manage. Booking an hour was perfect for me as a beginner. Plus they had a lift that lowered us already in our kayaks into the water which made the whole process simple. We only had 4 total in our group and the views from the water were stunning -away from crowds and the boat engine noise-it was truly peaceful. Our guide said it was a catch-22 with weather- because while we had sun and great views, we had less waterfalls.Whereas if we had rain, the skies would be cloudy, but we'd have seen far more lovely natural waterfalls . So I say be prepared for either and you won't be disappointed in the least. I'd also recommend when kayaking to wear your camera on a lanyard around your neck. With a paddle it was too easy for me to drop in the water. And even though I didn't, I stopped taking pictures because of the fear. After Kayaking-we were in the underwater observatory which was fascinating because our guide was well versed on the sea life we saw.We learned some interesting things and saw creatures that I'd not seen before. Favorite part: kayaking. On the whole- I would definitely do this excursion again and recommend to family/friends. also-pictures do not do it justice.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Such an excellent experience - extremely, extremely rainy the entire time but still very worth it! With the rain came the thousands of waterfalls we were able to see. Our kayak guide Simon was fantastic! Very knowledgeable. Would recommend to anyone who isn't afraid of getting wet and wants to see Milford Sound it it's true environment.

mark a m

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

This was by far the best thing we did on our month long honeymoon. Could not recommend this tour enough. It was downpouring while we were there, which is what you want b/c it creates a thousand pop up waterfalls! So, hopefully you are lucky and get wet weather while you are there like we did! The tour company and staff were fantastic. They gave great info out during the cruise, while getting you really close to the waterfalls, and the kayaking was a fun experience as well!

Michelle B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Thoroughly enjoyable. Amazing views with interesting commentary. Enjoyed seeing the seals as well as the fish etc. in the optional observatory tour. We had a clear day and were able to sit outside most of the time. The boat was not crowded and the picnic lunch was bigger than expected and worth having. Overall a good day.

Dan B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

We enjoyed our cruise and the magnificent sights....there were so many beautiful waterfalls!

stephen d

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Great customer service with amusing and informative commentary. Comfortable boat with decent picnic lunch especially the white choc cookies! and unlimited tea/coffee. Milford Sound exceeded our high expectations. Unmissable and worth every penny.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Absolutely spectacular scenery. Definitely out of my comfort zone doing the kayaking but so pleased I did. Up close and personal to the rock face and waterfalls. Very knowledgeable guides and interesting facts provided on the cruise. Discovery station also worth the visit


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

I highly recommend this attraction amazing sites,mother nature is amazing.

Kristina R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

This was hands-down one of the favorite things that my wife and I did while we were in New Zealand. Neither of us are religious but seeing the vastness of Milford Sound for the first time felt like a spiritual experience. Nothing can compare to the feeling that you get when you first see those stunning mountains jutting out of the sea. This place in incredible -- absolutely breathtaking. We wanted to make the most out of our trip, so we opted for the full package with picnic lunch, Discovery Center pass, and kayaking tour, and I'm so glad that we did. We were blessed to have an incredibly clear day on the water. It usually rains a lot in Milford Sound which we were told is still quite incredible, as the waterfalls swell and become even more awesome but when we were there, it hadn't rained for a few days. What that meant for us was the absence of the 10 freshwater layer that is usually present on the top of the water, so the water was stunningly clear. As we paddled around the inlet, we could see all of the rocks that were hiding below the surface. Being in the kayak, right on the water, surrounded by massive mountains gave us both a sense of perspective that we'd never felt before. It was amazing! All-in-all, we had an amazing time on our tour of Milford Sound. We got to see fur seals and penguins and the Southern Discoveries tour had far fewer people than the other tour boats, which made it seem more personal. The picnic lunch was pretty substantial, as well. I was surprised how much stuff they packed into our little brown bags -- sandwiches, chips, fruit, cheese, crackers, chocolate, and juice. It filled us up, for sure! I'd definitely recommend this tour and the Southern Discoveries tour company to anyone looking to explore Milford Sound.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

HIGHLY recommend the kayak. We went at the end of June, so it was cold. However, you don't realized the magnificence and waterfalls until you get in the kayak and get really really close. It was awesome! I love Milford Sound even more because of this tour.

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