Milford Sound Boat Trip

While in New Zealand last month, I got to go on an overnight cruise trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Before going to Queenstown, pretty much everyone I met in Auckland and Wellington said that I really should visit Milford Sound if I have a chance. My expectation was built up pretty high, but they were right about how nice it was. I want to share some photos to prove that.

Fiordland National Park Map
Map of Fiordland National Park

Milford Sound is a World Heritage site located in Fiordland National Park on the lower west side of the South Island.

The Real Journey bus & boat tour left Queenstown around 8 am. On the way to Milford, the bus drove through some stunning sceneries, and made a few stops. The quick walk along Mirror Lake was a fun one; the photos turned out just as the name of the lake suggests.

Mirror Lake
Reflection of mountains on Mirror Lake

The boat took off at 4:30 pm and we cruised around waterfalls, seal spot, then headed to Harrison Cove.

Milford Sound
Milford Sound

At Harrison Cove, I went kayaking (you can ride a motorboat if you prefer so, or stay on the cruise boat). The water was really calm and it was surprisingly easy to paddle around.

Kayaking in Milford Sound
Kayaking in Milford Sound

After dinner, Blair, the nature guide on board, had a short but entertaining presentation about the area. According to him, sometimes you can see penguins, dolphins or even whales on this cruise if you’re lucky.

I shared a 2-bedroom private cabin with my friend that night. It was quite stable and not noisy at all – I slept really well. Next morning, we saw a seal swimming around the boat in this painting-like darkness.

Morning in Milford Sound
Morning in Milford Sound

We had breakfast then the boat hit the Tasman Sea before returning to the port. We saw some waterfalls – the pattern at the bottom of this one looked really cool.

Waterfall at Milford Sound
Waterfall at Milford Sound

The drive back to Queenstown was as beautiful. Mountains, cloud, sheep, horses, and much more. Until I went to this excursion, I had seen the countryside of New Zealand only from the sky on a plane. Going through the nature on a bus (with large windows and partially glass rooftop) and boat was an awesome way to see more of the country.

We stopped at The Chasm on the way back. At the parking lot (or “car park”), a pair of friendly Kia birds were hanging around.

Kia Birds
Kia Birds at The Chasm parking lot

Just watching the cloud move in front of the mountain background is fascinating.

Mountains in Fijordland National Park
Mountains in Fijordland National Park

Thanks for the whole crew for making our cruise such a memorable experience. They seem like they have fun working together, and I think that helped passengers enjoy themselves too.

So now I have to say this too, just like how people who told me; you really should take time to go to Milford Sound if you are visiting Queenstown 🙂

For more photos from my NZ trip, see:




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