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Milford Sound

Milford Sound offers jaw-dropping New Zealand scenery that seems straight out of a film, and indeed, it’s been used as a location for Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and others. This beautiful landscape features glacier-carved cliffs, dark waterways and majestic waterfalls crashing down its rugged rocks. Explore the fiord and its surroundings and you’ll be treated to wildlife sightings from dolphins to fur seals. It’s a top destination for outdoorsy types, who can get out and explore by kayak or on foot. Cruise through for a glimpse of nature at her finest.

Milford Sound

What You Need To Know About Milford Sound

What are the can’t-miss sights in Milford Sound?

The main attraction in Milford Sound is the landscape itself. One of the best ways to experience the Milford Sound is to simply take a scenic boat cruise through its waterways, with a tour guide pointing out wildlife and geographical formations along the way. You could also opt for a kayak excursion or scenic flight overhead. Soar above the mountain peaks and rainforest-covered valleys by helicopter, or hike one of the world’s greatest trails, the Milford Track. Shorter walks get you out into the Fiordland National Park, or you could visit the Observatory to learn more about its marine life.

How can you reach Milford Sound from the cruise terminal?

You’ll sail right into the Milford Sound on your cruise ship in many cases, though if you’re on a massive mega-ship you may transfer to a smaller ferry for scenic cruising. One of the best ways to see the Milford Sound is from the water, with the sheer cliffs looming above on both sides and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. You’ll disembark from the ship to experience the excursion of your choice, whether it’s a hike, dive, or small plane ride. Ships dock at either Queenstown or Te Anau for land-based excursions, with shuttle buses and taxis on hand.

When is the best time to visit the Milford Sound?

Milford Sound’s intense greenery is due to its high levels of rainfall – it’s one of the world’s wettest areas! It’s hard to avoid a little mist if not a downright downpour, but this all adds to the charm. The peak rainy months are January and December, so avoid these if you don’t want to get drenched. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just wet here, but warm as well, which equals a high level of humidity. December and January are also the hottest months as well as the wettest, so again, give these a pass if you don’t like tropical storms.


It’s all about the natural world in Milford Sound, which is part of the Fiordland National Park. Apart from its dramatic scenery the region is teeming with wildlife. There are unique conditions here which contributes to the abundance of sea life. Heavy rains create a top layer of fresh water, while the deeper water underneath is salt water sourced from the Tasman Sea. Sea mammals include the famous Milford Sound Dolphins. There are over 60 bottlenose dolphins that call the Sound their home, so you’ll see them swimming right up to your kayak or leaping alongside the cruise ship. Dusky dolphins and whales are also spotted at times! Look for fur seals basking at Seal Point, along with colonies of Little Blue penguins. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the endangered Fiordland Crested Penguin with its unmistakable orange beak and blonde plumage. Apart from the animal life, Milford Sound hosts super-rare black coral. This unique coral is usually
only seen in the far depths of the ocean, inaccessible to divers, but due to Milford Sound’s unique geology and conditions, it grows near the surface here. Visit the Underwater Observatory or go out on a diving excursion to get up close with this rare and special ecosystem.

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