Looking to spice up your visit to the South Island with a Milford Sound tour from Queenstown?
Milford Sound is a magical destination that should be at the top of your bucket list, boasting stunning landscapes, wildlife in abundance, a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, and much more!
I visited Milford Sound on my South Island road trip and I genuinely loved it.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the details about the best tours to Milford Sound from Queenstown, what they include, and everything in between.
BEST MILFORD SOUND TOUR FROM QUEENSTOWN
MILFORD SOUND TOUR FROM QUEENSTOWN – OVERVIEW
Before jumping into the main topic, let’s cover some essential things you should know before coming, like the location, how to get to Milford Sound, and more.
WHERE IS MILFORD SOUND?
Milford Sound is a fiord located in New Zealand on the southwest coast of the South Island, part of the Piopiotahi Marine Reserve.
Nestled only about 290 km from Queenstown, Milford Sound is surrounded by stunning fjords and lush green forests.
The most iconic peak in the area is Mitre Peak, which rises 1690 meters above sea level and is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, rising straight out of the sea.
HOW TO GET TO MILFORD SOUND?
There are a few options to get to Milford Sound. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to do some exploring on your own, renting a car is a great option.
The drive to Milford Sound is full of breathtaking views and is definitely an experience worth having.
If you’re not really keen on driving for many hours, you can always opt for a day tour from Queenstown.
Not only will you be able to sit back and relax, but you’ll also be in the company of a tour guide who will tell you all about the area’s history and give you some insider tips.
And last but not least, if you really want to make your trip to Milford Sound one to remember, why not take a scenic flight from Queenstown?
This last option is the most premium one and the view from above is simply unparalleled and will be an experience you’ll never forget!
IS IT WORTH TAKING A MILFORD SOUND TOUR FROM QUEENSTOWN?
If you’re visiting the South Island, taking a Milford Sound tour should definitely be on your to-do list.
A Milford Sound day trip from Queenstown promises memories that will last a lifetime, and the scenery alone makes it worth it.
From misty forests to towering mountains to waterfalls galore, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of this part of the world.
And let’s not forget about the wildlife – you might even spot some dolphins or seals chilling in the waters.
Plus, the minivans and boats used for the Milford Sound tours are clean and modern, so you’ll feel comfortable and safe throughout the journey.
HOW MUCH IS A MILFORD SOUND DAY TRIP FROM QUEENSTOWN?
A Milford Sound trip from Queenstown costs on average around USD $150 per person, and it’s totally justified.
First, you get to experience the scenic beauty of New Zealand’s fjords while also enjoying the convenience of transportation from Queenstown.
But that’s not all – the tour includes a delicious lunch, the cruise in Milford Sound, and a guide full of captivating stories.
The price is definitely worth it for all the things you get to experience in just one day!
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A MILFORD SOUND TRIP FROM QUEENSTOWN
Milford Sound is the ultimate destination for travelers visiting New Zealand, and lucky for those visiting Queenstown, it’s just a scenic drive (or flight) away.
But what can you expect on a Milford Sound Tour from Queenstown?
Once you reach Milford Sound, hop on a boat for an incredible cruise through the fjord. Keep your eyes peeled for seals and dolphins lounging on rocks and waterfalls along the ride!
After the cruise and a delicious lunch, you’ll head over to The Chasm Walk, a sensational trail with views over waterfalls, surrounding cliffs, and otherworldly landscapes.
Did I mention that the stories from the guide are so intriguing, making the Milford Sound trip from Queenstown even more fun?!
MILFORD SOUND CRUISE FROM QUEENSTOWN
The most popular attraction in Milford Sound is the cruise, which offers views over the fiords and Mitre Peak.
From the moment you jump on board, you’ll have a nice moment with the friendly staff and skipper.
The boat is relatively small, which allows it to get up close to the waterfalls and other landscapes.
While cruising around, you’ll seals, dolphins, and some rare penguins which are native to this area.
I highly recommend booking a Milford Sound Cruise from Queenstown!
Whether you’re in search of dramatic landscapes or simply a quiet escape from the city, the Milford Sound Cruise is an unforgettable experience you won’t want to miss!
TIPS FOR VISITING MILFORD SOUND
No matter if you book a Milford Sounfs day trip from Queenstown or travel on your own, there are several things to keep in mind which I have noted below.
- Plan ahead and book all activities in advance: Milford Sound gets very busy during peak season and popular tours sell out fast.
- Get an early start: If you want to beat the crowds, aim to arrive at Milford Sound first thing in the morning when it’s quieter.
- Bring your own food: Despite lunch being included in the Milford Sound trip from Queenstown, there aren’t many dining options around, so make sure you bring enough snacks and water.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Remember that rain is common even during summer months in Fiordland National Park so bring adequate waterproof clothing.
- Consider taking a scenic flight from Queenstown: While the drive from Queenstown is beyond words, a flight to Milford is incredible, and I highly recommend you book this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN MILFORD SOUND
This incredible fjord in Fiordland National Park is renowned for its majestic peaks, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
Here are some of the top things to do in Milford Sound during your visit.
LAKE MARIAN HIKE
The Lake Marian Hike is a stunning trek near Milford Sound that you can’t miss on your itinerary.
It’s a relatively challenging hike that takes you through the forest and up to the peaceful lake.
Be prepared to hike from the base to Lake Marian for about 3 hours, where you can stop at various spots for photos and bird watching.
The trail is well-maintained but can be steep, uneven, and slippery in places, so make sure to bring proper hiking gear.
MILFORD SOUND LOOKOUT & MILFORD SOUND SWING
The next spot to check out is the Milford Sound Lookout and the famous Milford Sound Swing, and you’ll get here through Ngati Mamoe Walkway.
At the lookout, you’ll have panoramic views of Milford Sound, hence why it’s such a popular spot in the region and easily accessible.
The swing is just steps away from the lookout, and it’s a great angle for a photo with a cool background to add to your Instagram grid!
You can stroll along the wooden boardwalk and check out the famous Milford Sound swing, and then go and watch the sunset from Milford Sound Lookout – how’s that for a plan?
Both are a short walk from the Milford Sound car park, so you can stop here with your campervan and continue on foot.
MILFORD SOUND TRIP FROM QUEENSTOWN – FAQ
Now that we’ve covered all the essential details you must know when taking this best Milford Sound tour from Queenstown, let’s answer some common questions from first-time visitors.
HOW FAR IS MILFORD SOUND FROM QUEENSTOWN?
The distance between Queenstown and Milford Sound is about 290 kilometers (180 miles). Without stopping, it takes about 3.5 hours.
However, if you want to make the most of it, there are plenty of stops along the way that will allow you to take in all the beauty that this part of the country has to offer.
Generally, a Milford Sound trip from Queenstown will stop by:
- Lake Te Anau
- Eglinton Valley
- Mirror Lakes Walk
- Hollyford River
- Darran Mountains
- And many more
BEST TIME TO VISIT MILFORD SOUND?
If you want to experience the beauty of Milford Sound without the crowds, then autumn (March-May) or spring (September-November) are your best bet.
During these months, you’ll find fewer visitors and more opportunities to explore the area without the crowds.
However, for a sunny-filled holiday, then summer (December-February) is a great time to visit.
This is when the weather is warmest and driest, making it perfect for kayaking, hiking, and boat cruises.
HOW MUCH DOES THE MILFORD SOUND CRUISE COST?
The prices for the cruise only vary depending on the time, season, and inclusions, and they start at NZD $45 (USD $28).
That being said, this price tag only includes the cruise and not transportation or a tour guide.
On the other hand, if you want to book a Milford Sound day trip from Queenstown, it will cost you about $150.
While it’s a big difference, this includes transportation, lunch, a local guide, and all the stops on the way, which makes it a day to remember!
WHERE TO STAY IN MILFORD SOUND?
There are only two accommodation providers in Milford Sound:
- Milford Sound Lodge – Fully-equipped campground and accommodations, powered and non-powered sites, and an on-site cafe.
- Mitre Peak Lodge – Friendly service, clean and modern rooms, and on-site restaurant, but you have to call them to book as they do not accept online bookings.
WHAT TO PACK FOR NEW ZEALAND
When visiting New Zealand, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
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SUMMARY – BEST MILFORD SOUND CRUISE FROM QUEENSTOWN
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TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
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