Milford Sound Cruises

All Your Milford Sound Adventure Activities

Cruises in Milford SoundAdventure Activities

Exploring Milford Sound Adventure Activities 

Dive headfirst into a kaleidoscope of adrenaline-pumping adventures in the majestic playground of Milford Sound!  Milford Sound beckons you with an array of activities, each offering a distinctive perspective on this natural wonder. From the tranquility of kayaking to the thrill of rock climbing, the fjord presents an adventure for every seeker.

Read on to discover all about adventure activities at Milford Sound.

Why participate in Milford Sound adventure activities?

Milford Sound adventure activities
  • Thrilling diversity of adventures: Milford Sound offers a spectrum of adventures, from trekking the renowned Milford Track—one of New Zealand’s Great Walks—to kayaking, rock climbing, and heli-fishing, ensuring there's an activity for every adventurer's taste.
  • Unique wildlife encounters: Kayaking in Milford Sound provides unparalleled encounters with rare species. Paddle through pristine waters to witness the deep emergence phenomenon, a rare natural occurrence exclusive to this region.
  • Milford Track's Great Walk experience: Embark on the Milford Track, a world-renowned trekking experience. Traverse lush rainforests, cross suspension bridges, and witness landscapes so extraordinary they've earned the track the title of one of New Zealand's Great Walks.
  • Spectacular scenic flights: Indulge in scenic flights offering aerial perspectives of Milford Sound's rugged grandeur, providing a unique vantage point that showcases the fjord's vastness and geological marvels.
  • Tranquil overnight cruises: Escape the crowds with overnight cruises, immersing yourself in the fjord's tranquility after day-trippers depart. Gourmet dining on deck and waking up to the dawn in Milford Sound make for an unforgettable experience.

Discover Milford Sound adventure activities

Milford Sound kayaking

Milford Sound kayaking

Paddle your way through the enchanting waters of Milford Sound, enveloped by towering cliffs and waterfalls. Milford Sound kayaking offers an intimate connection with the fjord's pristine beauty. Venture into hidden coves, glide beneath misty falls and witness wildlife up close.

Average duration: 2 to 4 hours. 

Requirements/Restrictions: Suitable for most, including beginners. 

Best time: All year, but summer (December to February) offers milder weather.

Scuba diving Milford Sound

Scuba diving

Plunge into an underwater wonderland beneath Milford Sound's glassy surface. Discover a surreal world of marine life, submerged cliffs, and kelp forests. Scuba diving in these cold, clear waters reveals a unique perspective on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Average duration: 3-4 hours tours with 40 mins (average) diving sessions.

Best time: Late spring to early autumn for better underwater visibility.

Trekking and hiking Milford Sound

Trekking and hiking

Embark on an immersive journey along Milford Sound's hiking trails, revealing the fjord's hidden gems. Explore lush rainforests, cross suspension bridges, and revel in panoramic viewpoints. The Milford Track, known as 'the finest walks in the world,' promises an unforgettable trekking experience.

Average duration: Half-day hikes to multi-day treks, with the entire Milford Track hike typically taking 4 days.

Requirements/Restrictions: Moderate fitness levels for day hikes.

Best time: Late October to April for favorable weather.

Camping Milford Sound


Immerse yourself in Milford Sound's tranquility with a free camping experience in Milford Sound. Sleep under a star-studded sky, surrounded by the symphony of nature. Milford Sound campgrounds like the Milford Sound Lodge offer a unique opportunity to connect with the fjord after the day-trippers have departed.

Average duration: Overnight to multi-day camping experiences.

Restrictions: Equipment-dependent; check with camping providers for specific requirements.

Best time: Late spring to early autumn for pleasant weather conditions.

Milford Sound overnight cruises

Milford Sound overnight cruises

Extend your Milford Sound adventure with an overnight cruise. As day-trippers leave, the fjord transforms into a serene sanctuary. Enjoy gourmet dining on deck, stargaze, and wake up to the ethereal beauty of Milford Sound in the morning light.

Average duration: Overnight

Restrictions/Requirements: Foldable wheelchairs for smoother boarding (for people with disabilities)

Best time: All year; each season offers a unique perspective.

Heli-hiking Milford Sound


Elevate your hiking experience with a helicopter ride to remote mountain peaks. Heli-hiking unveils untouched landscapes, glaciers, and sweeping vistas. Descend on foot into pristine valleys, creating memories of a lifetime.

Average duration: Half-day to full-day excursions.

Restrictions: Depends on the heli-hiking operator.

Best time: Late spring to early autumn for milder temperatures.

Heli-fishing Milford Sound


Combine helicopter flights and fishing adventures for a unique Milford Sound experience. Access remote fishing spots amidst breathtaking scenery. Reel in trout and enjoy the serenity of this secluded fishing haven.

Average duration: Half-day to full-day experiences.

Restrictions: Varies by the heli-fishing provider.

Best time: Late spring to autumn for optimal fishing conditions.

Plan your Milford Sound adventure activities

Best time to participate
Getting to Milford Sound
Milford Sound Scenic Flyover Tour from Queenstown
  • Late Spring to Early Autumn (October to March):
  • Year-Round (Scenic Flights): Scenic flights offer stunning views regardless of the season.
  • Flexible (Adventure Cruises, Heli-Adventures): Adventure cruises and heli-adventures are accessible year-round, allowing for flexibility in planning.
Milford Sound

Address: Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand 

Find on Google Maps

  • Via coach
  • Via scenic flight
  • Via car

Milford Sound Adventure activities essentials

General essentials
Hiking and trekking
Scuba diving
Scenic flights
Helicopter adventures
Safety and Navigation
General essentials
  • Comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing (layers are key)
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Snacks for energy boosts
  • Small backpack for day trips
Hiking and trekking
  • Quality backpack with proper back support
  • Trekking poles for added stability
  • Moisture-wicking socks
  • Hat with a brim for sun protection
  • First aid kit
  • Map and compass or GPS device
  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Waterproof dry bag for valuables
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Waterproof phone case or pouch
  • Paddle gloves for hand protection
  • Personal flotation device (PFD)
Scuba diving
  • Certified scuba diving gear (if not provided)
  • Wetsuit or drysuit, depending on the season
  • Dive computer
  • Underwater camera for capturing marine life
  • Towel and change of clothes for after the dive
Milford Sound Scenic Flyover Tour from Queenstown
  • Motion sickness remedies, if needed
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing aerial views
  • Sunglasses for protection against sun glare
  • Jacket or layers for warmth at higher altitudes
Helicopter adventures
  • Secure, closed-toe footwear
  • Warm clothing, even in warmer months
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Camera for capturing breathtaking aerial views
Safety and Navigation
  • Fully charged phone with emergency contacts
  • Map of the area and compass
  • Personal identification
  • Emergency whistle
  • First aid kit with basic medical supplies
Man puts power bank in a backpack
  • Portable power bank for electronic devices
  • Travel documentation and permits
  • Trash bags for responsible waste disposal

Milford Sound adventurer tips

  • Weather preparation: Milford Sound's weather can be unpredictable. Pack layers, and waterproof gear, and be prepared for sudden changes in conditions.
  • Book in advance: Adventure activities in Milford Sound are extremely popular. Secure your spot by booking in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  • Choose the right season: While Milford Sound is captivating year-round, activities like kayaking and camping are more enjoyable in the milder seasons from late spring to early autumn.
  • Explore diverse activities: Mix up your adventure itinerary. Experience the thrill of heli-hiking, the tranquility of overnight cruises, and the exploration of trekking the Milford Track for a well-rounded adventure.
  • Wildlife watching tips: Bring binoculars for wildlife watching during activities like kayaking. Milford Sound is home to seals, dolphins, and penguins, creating unique opportunities for spotting marine life.
  • Photography essentials: Capture the breathtaking scenery. Bring a quality camera or smartphone for stunning shots of waterfalls, cliffs, and the overall beauty of Milford Sound.
  • Respect nature: Adhere to environmental guidelines. Respect the flora and fauna, stay on designated trails, and follow the principles of Leave No Trace to preserve the natural beauty of Milford Sound.
  • Check activity restrictions: Different adventure activities have varying restrictions. Check height, weight, age, and fitness requirements.
  • Stay hydrated and energized: Bring ample water and snacks, especially if embarking on activities like trekking or camping. Energize yourself for the adventure-filled days.
  • Engage with local guides: Local guides offer insights into Milford Sound's history and ecology. Take advantage of their knowledge to enhance your adventure experience.
  • Safety first: Prioritize safety during rock climbing or heli-adventures. Follow instructions carefully, and communicate any concerns with your guides.
  • Pack essentials for each activity: Tailor your packing list based on your chosen activities. From hiking boots to waterproof gear, ensure you have the essentials for each adventure.
  • Plan for scenic flights: If taking a scenic flight, consider motion sickness precautions. Bring anti-nausea remedies and mufflers. Also, choose a time when the weather is suitable for flying.
  • Flexible itinerary: Keep your itinerary flexible. Weather conditions may impact some activities, so be open to adjustments for the best possible experience in Milford Sound.

Frequently asked questions about Milford Sound adventure activities

What are the most popular Milford Sound adventure activities?

Popular activities include kayaking, tramping, scenic flights, trekking the Milford Track, and overnight cruises, offering diverse experiences in this stunning fjord.

Is Milford Sound suitable for families and children?

Yes, Milford Sound is family-friendly. You can find many activities, like boat cruises, scenic flights, and easy walks, that are suitable for children, providing a memorable experience for the entire family.

What's the best time of year to visit Milford Sound for adventure activities?

Late spring to early autumn (October to March) offers the best weather for various activities, including kayaking, trekking, and camping.

How do I get to Milford Sound?

Access Milford Sound by car via Milford Road, coach services from nearby towns like Queenstown or Te Anau, or scenic flights departing from Queenstown.

Where can I stay in Milford Sound?

You can stay in DOC-run huts or private lodges in and around Milford Sound. Alternatively, you can also book your stay in Te Anau or Queenstown. We recommend booking accommodations well in advance, as rooms often sell out fast.

Do I need any special equipment for the activities?

Equipment needs vary according to the adventure activity. For activities like kayaking or scuba diving, operators usually provide specific gear. Check with activity providers for details.

Are the activities physically demanding?

Activity intensity varies depending on your planned activity. Kayaking and boat cruises are easy for most while trekking require moderate fitness levels.

What are the must-do hiking trails in Milford Sound?

The Milford Track hiking trail is a must-do, known as one of New Zealand's Great Walks, offering unparalleled scenic beauty. You may choose to go tramping across the entire trail or just opt for the day walk option.

Do I need a guide for hiking in Milford Sound?

For the Milford Track, guided walks enhance the experience. Other trails may not require guides, but local knowledge can enrich your hike. You can learn about the culture, history, and geography of the region from an experienced guide.

What are the risks associated with hiking in Milford Sound?

Risks include changing weather, challenging terrain, and isolation. Be prepared with suitable gear, and consider guided hikes for safety. We recommend booking a guided tour for a better experience.

Can I kayak the Milford Sound waterfalls?

Yes, guided kayaking tours allow you to paddle close to iconic waterfalls like Stirling Falls for a unique and exhilarating experience.

What are some Milford Sound adventure activities essentials?

Essentials include waterproof gear, safety gear, sturdy footwear, snacks, and a camera for capturing stunning landscapes during activities like trekking and kayaking.

What are the best ways to see Milford Sound by boat?

Take a 2-hour boat cruise for a close-up view of waterfalls, cliffs, and wildlife if you don’t have time. Evening and overnight cruises provide you with unique perspectives.

Which scenic flight offers the most impressive views?

Choose one departing from Queenstown for breathtaking aerial views of Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Mt. Aspiring National Park, Lake Quill, Sutherland Falls, and the Southern Alps.

Can I combine a cruise with other activities?

Yes, we offer combo packages, allowing you to combine a boat cruise with activities like hiking or scenic flights for a comprehensive experience.

What can I expect to see underwater in Milford Sound?

Underwater, you may discover kelp forests, marine life like seals, dolphins, dogfish, and penguins, and unique geological features, creating a captivating underwater world.

What's the water temperature like for diving and snorkeling?

Water temperatures can be chilly, ranging from 8 to 16 degrees Celsius (46 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit), so wear appropriate wetsuits for diving and snorkeling.

What are the most unique adventure activities in Milford Sound?

Unique activities include heli-hiking to remote peaks, heli-fishing in secluded spots, and exploring underwater life through scuba diving.

Are there any aerial adventures available?

Yes, scenic flights, heli-hiking, and helicopter fishing provide thrilling aerial adventures and unique perspectives of Milford Sound.

How long do I need to spend in Milford Sound for a good adventure experience?

Depending on activities, spending 2-3 days allows for a comprehensive adventure experience, ensuring time for exploration and relaxation in this natural wonder.