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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. Transport from Te Anua hotels is optional.


  • 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
  • Includes pickup and drop off at Te Anau hotels if option chosen

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, or select optional pickup by mini-coach from your Te Anau hotel 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 KayakUpgrade 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


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.

Derek H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Absolutely beautiful. The rain made it more amazing as it created numerous waterfalls. The staff were very knowledgeable about the area. We even got to see seals and a Fiordland Crested Penguin which was a highlight. I highly recommend this trip.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Absolutely wonderful! We had lots of rain which made the views dramatic with so many waterfalls that you couldn't count them all.
The kayaking was tremendous.
The organisation was very good and staff friend!y and knowledgeable.

Eril M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

This was wonderful. Picnic lunch was delicious and ample. We travelled with 5 children and they loved going so close to the waterfalls and getting wet. Also the underwater observatory was interesting. The drive from te anau was a highlight. Plenty of time at each stop, interesting commentary by the driver and great to just sit back, relax and enjoy the fabulous scenery.

Susan C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

One of the highlights of our trip. Our guides were local and therefore very knowledgeable about the area which was refreshing and something we didn't find many other places in New Zealand.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

The tour was amazing and the guide was so knowledgeable around the area. He continually spoke to us about the surrounding areas and it was great to be able to get out and stretch during the ride up.

Brian J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Just a wonderful day. A beautiful drive in from Te Anau and the cruise was fantastic. A paddle on the sound was a bit of fun to top off a great day. Highly recommended


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Didn't get to kayak due to bad weather, but the tour was amazing! And viator was great at refunding the cancelled part. The weather is rarely sunny but still beautiful none the less. Definitely worth being on the smaller more personal boat. The other boats in Milford Sound were huge and this one was much smaller and much more personal.

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