A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

Milford Sound

I just can’t go more than a month without writing about New Zealand! It’s a form of self-therapy I guess, because I miss New Zealand every day;-). I miss the relaxed way of life, the beautiful nature, the friendly people and obviously my campervan and waking up with views like this…

All Day Bay recreation reserve, a seaview from our van!

Which is why I regularly browse through my New Zealand photos, taking me back me to…

The Milford Sound

One of New Zealand’s natural marvels is the Milford Sound. The Milford Sound is actually a fjord as the captain of our boat explained. I didn’t know this until then, but a Fjord is gauged out by a glacier whereas a Sound is created by a river.

I did a 2 hour cruise through the Milford Sound, which was a bit short but still amazing. Let me show you why…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

Arriving at the Milford Sound in the early morning…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

Impressive waterfalls…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

And just as impressive: steep cliffs…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

So many waterfalls…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

Clouds covering the top of the mountains…

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

What a force of nature… So much water!

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

The end of the Milford Sound, or the beginning depending on your definition;-). The part of the Sound closest to the sea.

Did you know that the color of the water in the Milford Sound depends on the amount of rain that has fallen? The more rain has fallen, the darker the water. The thing is that rain water is lighter than the salty sea water and is therefore floating atop the green sea water.

If there is less rain for a couple of day, the water in the Milford Sound changes color and turns more and more to the green color of the sea. Interesting right! I didn’t know this, the very knowledgeable captain of our boat explained how this works.

Looking out over the Tasman sea...

Looking out over the Tasman sea…

And turning around, back into the Milford Sound...

And turning around, back into the Milford Sound…

The wind was so fierce...

The wind was so fierce…

...it blew this waterfall up instead of down...

…the water went up instead of down…

Check out how tiny the yellow kayaks are compared to the massive waterfall!

Check out how tiny the yellow kayaks are compared to the massive waterfall!

A Cruise Around The Milford Sound

The Milford Sound… SO BEAUTIFUL!

Practical information

There a plenty of cruise companies offering all sorts of cruises around the Milford Sound, varying from the 2hour tour I did to a 24hour tour including a night on the boat.

We went with Jucy Cruize and paid 67NZD for two adults (usual price is 45NZD per person) because we had a coupon giving a 50% discount for the second person. I found the coupon in one of the free AA travel magazines that you can pick up at any i-Site in New Zealand. Our cruise started at 9:15am, make sure you are there at least 20 minutes before departure time.

You can also kayak around the sound. I have to say I did not envy the guys kayaking on the day I took the tour, the wind was fierce and it was raining. Great for the amount and size of the waterfalls, not so great when you are in a kayak… But it is an excellent way to get an even better feel of the untamed Milford Sound and the force of the elements.

If you have your own wheels you can drive the amazing Milford Sound road (SH94) from Te Anau. Parking at the Milford Sound was free, at least when we were there, which was January 2015. If you don’t have your own transport, there are plenty of companies offering a package including transport (from Te Anau or Queenstown) by bus and a cruise around the Milford. I haven’t done this myself so I am not sure about the prices, but you can take a look at the Jucy website.

If you want to read more about my trip around New Zealand, take a look at my budget breakdown, 43-day itinerary and New Zealand campsites post.

The Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. Hop on a boat and cruise around, you’ll be surrounded by steeps cliffs and thousands of waterfalls… Truly amazing!The Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. Hop on a boat and cruise around, you’ll be surrounded by steeps cliffs and thousands of waterfalls… Truly amazing!

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  1. February 13, 2016 / 10:57 pm

    Ah man – we skipped NZ from our big Asia trip cause it was too far/expensive, so saving it for another time. And boy do we regret it – EVERYone raves about how stunning it is. How did you find it costs wise?

    • Lotte
      February 13, 2016 / 11:31 pm

      You’ve done an amazing Asia trip! I am currently catching up on your Japan posts because I’ll be going there in April/May, good stuff:-) Anyway, New Zealand, yes definitely expensive compared to Asia but worth every penny… You can check my New Zealand budget breakdown post for details but we spent about 160NZD a day (€100/$115).

  2. February 14, 2016 / 2:14 am

    This looks amazing. I am always baffled when I see pictures from New Zealand. We couldn’t visit NZ on our trip around the world but I would love, love, love to see it one day. I can only imagine how many times you were probably speechless by the view. This trip looks so great! Thanks for sharing.

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 10:08 am

      I really hope you get to visit NZ Melanie! I was pretty much speechless for 6 weeks;-)

  3. February 14, 2016 / 4:33 am

    It’s such a shame we didn’t make it to the Milford Sound! We were travelling for 10 days in the South Island and instead of going all the way South ended up going all the way North to Nelson – it was winter and we were worried that the weather was going to be lousy during that time of the year. But obviously it can rain at any point – i love the fact about the water changing colour….awesome!

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 10:11 am

      Thanks Tess! I loved the watercolor fact too, our captain really knew his stuff! I can imagine winter might be cold in the Milford Sound… And it rains about 180 days a year, so you can pretty much count on a little water from the sky at some point during your visit. On the upside, the waterfalls are even more impressive when it’s raining!

  4. February 14, 2016 / 4:36 am

    I knew nothing about the Milford Sound and it looks amazing. Going on my places to go list. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 10:13 am

      Welcome Megan, I am glad you enjoyed the post:-) The Milford Sound is definitely worth a place on your ‘Places To Go’ list!

  5. February 14, 2016 / 7:08 am

    It really does look like a stunning place, though that doesn’t surprise me because all of NZ is like that. The waterfalls and greenery surrounding the sound are so great.

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 10:14 am

      Haha agreed! New Zealand is stunning all around…

  6. February 14, 2016 / 11:21 am

    Beautiful, Milford Sound is a wonderful place. Thank you for sharing these stunning photos.

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 12:55 pm

      A very beautiful place indeed:-)

  7. February 14, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    Wow, it is so beautiful! Love all of the waterfalls. I would love to kayak through there, though you are right the winds would probably drive me nuts!

    • Lotte
      February 14, 2016 / 12:55 pm

      The kayaking people looked rather cold, but I can imagine it’s a pretty awesome experience! I loved kayaking around Abel Tasman Park, but the weather was much better there…

  8. February 15, 2016 / 8:14 am

    Gorgeous part of the world. I visited the Sound via cruise ship. It was breathtaking, to see seals and the waterfalls. Wow. Def one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited.

    • Lotte
      February 15, 2016 / 10:17 am

      I totally agree Anna, it’s such an amazing place!

  9. February 16, 2016 / 6:19 am

    We were so lucky to drive to Milford but I wish there were time for a longer than 2 hour cruise.

    • Lotte
      February 16, 2016 / 8:32 am

      I know! 2 hours is short when there is so much beauty around you…

  10. February 18, 2016 / 5:31 am

    Woah! Your photots are stunning. I can’t wait to see the milford sound on my own!

    • Lotte
      February 18, 2016 / 9:54 am

      Thank you Mag! Have a great trip in the Milford Sound:-)

  11. February 20, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    It’s stunning, even on a cloudy day! I’m sure I’ll fall in love with this place. One day I’ll visit the Milford Sound too 🙂

    • Lotte
      February 20, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      It is one of the most impressive places I have visited in my life… I hope you get to visit the Milford Sounds at some point in the future!

  12. February 19, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    Milford Sound, and more specifically the waterfalls that cascade from the lush green foothills are absolutely breathtaking! I have yet to find another destination around the world that is as beautiful in the rain as it is on a sunny day, and this is absolutely true for Milford Sound! I had the fortune of experiencing the landscape from the deck of a boat, and to glide silently past these magnificent, thundering waterfalls is something I will never forget!

    • Lotte
      February 20, 2017 / 10:29 am

      I agree, not many places are as beautiful in rain as on a sunny day but Milford definitely is. So many waterfalls!!!

  13. November 13, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Wow, I am really looking forward to my trip.
    Hopefully the doubtful sound turns out as amazing as you described the Milford sound.
    As I am doing the cruise in December I thought it would be a bit less crowded on the Doubtful sound than on the Milford sound, but it was really a hard decision.
    And all these amazing waterfalls on your pictures, I just cant wait till next month to hopefully see all these things O.O

    • Lotte
      November 15, 2017 / 2:54 am

      Hi Seiya,

      Oh I would have loved to do the Doubtful Sound! I heard it’s indeed supposed to be less crowded, plus most tours are overnight right? Have an amazing trip! Hope you’ll see many waterfalls:-)


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