Water activity

Milford Sound: Cruise and Underwater Observatory

Activity provider:Southern Discoveries
Water activity

Milford Sound: Cruise and Underwater Observatory

Activity provider:Southern Discoveries
Likely to sell out

From US$ 81.10 per person

Likely to sell out

Go further, get closer, and discover more on this tour of Milford Sound that includes a picnic lunch. See it all on your cruise, including the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Keep your travel plans flexible — book your spot and pay nothing today.
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 3 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide


  • Soak in the beauty of Milford Sound on one of the longest daytime experiences
  • Explore the mysterious undersea world at Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
  • Descend 64 steps into a viewing area and observe marine life through the windows
  • Listen to informative commentary on the fjord’s history, geology, and wildlife
  • Taste glacial water straight from the waterfalls and stand under Stirling Falls
Full description

Explore the beauty of the fiord on a vessel that’s purpose-built for the best daytime viewing. Set off on a day-trip that includes a delicious lunch, complimentary tea and coffee, and a visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. Climb aboard a smaller vessel at the Milford Sound Cruise Terminal to discover more of the fiord on an authentic and insightful experience. Get within touching distance of impressive rock walls and waterfalls.

Join the skipper in the open wheelhouse and say hello to the native seals basking on the rocks as you pass them by. A knowledgeable local guide will ensure you discover the wildlife, nature, and history of this remarkable sanctuary.

Visit the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand's only floating underwater observatory for an experience unlike any other. Hidden under the surface in Harrison Cove in the middle of Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, the Observatory enables you to experience a different perspective of the fiord.

Descend 64 steps (10-metres) underwater into a large, fully air-conditioned viewing area and peer out through large windows at the deep underwater haven. Unlike an aquarium, the fish are free to come and go; it’s the people who are contained.

  • Milford Sound cruise
  • Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Access to top deck for viewing and panoramic photo opportunities
  • Large viewing windows and covered seating area

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Meeting point

Milford Sound Visitor Centre, Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound, New Zealand. Be sure to allow 5 hours driving time from Queenstown and just over 2 hours from Te Anau or opt for a coach and cruise option departing from Queenstown or Te Anau (available to book on GetYourGuide).

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Jacket
  • Insect repellent

Know before you go

  • Always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall
  • All vessels are fully licensed with a range of beverages plus a selection of snack foods. Note that smoking is not permitted on any of the vessels
  • Timetables, cruise departures and vessels may vary. In the interest of your safety, the activity provider may cancel any cruise at any time due to unsafe weather conditions or boat maintenance
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 534 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Service
  • Organization

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The cruise was very interesting, loaded with information about many aspects of the sound. The guide found two different kinds of dolphins for us, and we got to see them up close. We also saw marine life in an underwater observatory, and were served a very generous lunch.

March 23, 2023

The whole experience is run very smoothly and I'd definitely recommend it. We had a mixture of rain and sunshine while we were there which was great because it meant we saw more waterfalls and some great misty views. We also saw a pod of bottlenose dolphins and some seals. They provide quite a lot of food in the lunch pack, as well as tea, coffee, water and you can buy other drinks on board. Beware if you stand at the front of the boat that they take you almost completely underneath a waterfall so you will get very wet, but it was great fun. It's definitely worth doing.

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March 21, 2023

This boat ride exceeded all expectations. It had poured down rain for two days, right up until our 1:30 departure. Then the clouds parted enough to see previously hidden mountains and HUNDREDS of waterfalls. We got so close to them, we needed raincoats for our raincoats! It was an amazing, wet, gale-force experience at the bow of the boat, one that had us laughing in absolute awe. Lunch was delicious. While I couldn't eat the gluten sandwich bread, the contents made a lovely salad and the fruit, chips, and chocolate snacks hit the spot. We were visited by several pods of playful bottlenose dolphins who rode the bow wave for quite some time. The underwater Discovery Center was a terrific stop. I could have stayed there much longer with all the placards to read and so many fish and coral to learn about meters below the surface.

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March 21, 2023

Product ID: 23807