Fiordland
National Parks

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Our most recommended Fiordland National Parks

Fiordland National Park: Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

1. Fiordland National Park: Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Spend a day in the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound, located in the heart of Fiordland National Park and three times longer than Milford Sound. Self-drive to Manapouri and board a cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri, followed by a coach trip across Wilmot Pass. Stop en-route to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest. At Deep Cove, board the Patea Explorer, a purpose-built catamaran, for a 2 hour and 45-minute cruise on Doubtful Sound. See waterfalls, rainforest and mountains during the cruise. You might spot the resident pod of bottlenose dolphins, the colony of fur seals at the mouth of the fiord, or even rare Fiordland crested penguins. During the cruise, knowledgeable nature guides will provide informative commentary.  When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is dramatic - rock faces stream with waterfalls, mist hangs around the tops of the mountains, and rivers and streams rage.  From a dry comfortable vantage point on board the coach or vessel this landscape is spectacular. Always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during your visit. Many say you have not seen Fiordland unless you have seen it in the rain!

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with Optional Lunch

2. Milford Sound Nature Cruise with Optional Lunch

Climb aboard a purpose-built catamaran in Milford Sound Cruise Terminal and set sail across the water to discover the unique wildlife of one of South Island's most picturesque attractions. Enjoy complimentary tea and coffee onboard and pre-purchase a picnic lunch when booking. Journey down the south side of the fjord and out into the Tasman Sea, before returning up the north side of the fjord. Listen to fascinating commentary about the region from your skipper in the open wheelhouse and say hello to the native seals basking on the rocks as you pass them by.  Get within touching distance of impressive rock walls carved by glaciers thousands of years ago. Feel the full force of the powerful 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls. The friendly staff will roam the vessel available to answer your questions on the history, geology, and wildlife of the fiord along the way.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

3. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

Combine a flight and a cruise on Milford Sound on this excursion from Queensland. Take in the area's outstanding natural beauty as you savor the sights from both air and water. Enjoy a pickup and transfer to the air hanger in Queenstown. Listen to informative commentary in English and marvel at the stunning views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls on the 40-minute flight. Upon landing, transfer to the Milford Sound Boat Terminal. Board in Milford Sound and experience 2 hours onboard an intimate vessel with English commentary by your skipper, and complimentary tea and coffee. Cruise to the mouth of the Tasman Sea, while enjoying views of waterfalls and marine life like fur seals, dolphins, and penguins. Next, board your scenic flight back to Queenstown. Take a different flight path from your outbound flight as you admire the spectacular views of Fiordland National Park. After the 40-minute journey back to Queenstown, enjoy complimentary transfer back to your accommodation.

Milford Sound: 2-Hour Small Boat Scenic Cruise

4. Milford Sound: 2-Hour Small Boat Scenic Cruise

Embrace the grandeur of Milford Sound's towering peaks and tumbling waterfalls on a scenic and boutique 2-hour cruise. Self-drive to Milford Sound Visitor Terminal enjoying the views en route. Sit back and relax as your cruise departs from Milford Sound Wharf and makes its way out past the iconic Mitre Peak. Cruise the length of the 16-kilometer fiord and out past St Annes Point Lighthouse. Go further and get closer to the magic that is Milford Sound as you travel through the fiord and out into the Tasman Sea. Hold your breath as your Skipper navigates closer to the shoreline, getting you right up close to the incredible surroundings. Be sure to bring your camera, as you'll be close to sights like the mighty Stirling Falls and Copper Point. Keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun, pods of dolphins or rare Fiordland Crested Penguins that can be found seasonally within the region.

From Te Anau: Milford Sound Coach and Cruise Day Trip

5. From Te Anau: Milford Sound Coach and Cruise Day Trip

Discover Milford Sound on an 8-hour adventure with round-trip transport from Te Anau and a 2-hour cruise through the fiord. If you are looking to explore both Milford and Doubtful Sounds, it is worth staying one or two nights in Te Anau. There is plenty to do plus you will save yourself the long journeys to and from Queenstown. At Milford Sound, climb aboard the leisurely nature cruise for an informative, interactive, and relaxed experience. A specialist guide will provide live informative commentary and you can admire the fiord’s wildlife, waterfalls, and mountains. Enjoy lunch on board the cruise — you may bring your own lunch or purchase snacks and drinks (cash only) on the vessel. Be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during your visit; the landscape is especially dramatic when it rains in Fiordland. Enjoy the spectacular views from a dry, comfortable vantage point on board the vessel. Following the cruise, immediately board the luxury coach for the return journey to Te Anau, arriving between 4:30 PM and 5:45 PM, depending on the season.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

6. Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take flight a small luxury plane leaving Queenstown. Admire the awe-inspiring scenery from your very own window seat as you soar over Fiordland National Park, listening to the pilot's commentary. Landing at Milford Sound airport you will be escorted to the Cruise Terminal either by shuttle or 15 minute nature walk to meet your boat. Enjoy 2 hours of spectacular scenery and wildlife on the Gem of the Sound, learn all about the history of the area from the skipper as he skillfully pulls the boat underneath waterfalls and right up to the base of famous Mitre Peak. Your pilots will meet you off the cruise at the Terminal and take you back to the awaiting plane for your return to Queenstown. Your complimentary shuttle will drop you back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the legendary dining scene.

Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

7. Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

Your cruise will begin at one of the most scenic points of the journey. You can take in the magnificent view of Mitre Peak (New Zealand's most photographed mountain) and the Sinbad Gully. This place is home to the Kakapo (world's heaviest flightless parrot), which was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1948. From there you will cruise past seal colonies and feel the spray of the waterfall as you travel directly under the Fairy Falls. Once the cruise reaches the Tasman Sea, you will get to see the hidden entrance to the Milford Sound (which Captain Cook missed twice on his explorations). On your return journey, you will find yourself underneath an even bigger waterfall, the Sterling Falls. If you feel like a world-famous "glacial facial", don't miss the opportunity here to do so. Throughout your tour, nature guides will entertain you with local anecdotes, as well as offer extra information on the passing flora and fauna. They are also there to help you with taking photos and assist with any requirements you may have. Around November you will have the chance to spot the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

8. From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

Visit Doubtful Sound on a full-day trip from Queenstown. You will board a luxury bus and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through the rolling countryside to Manapouri. Enjoy informative commentary along the way from your friendly driver. From Manapouri, you will cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Then board a coach to cross the alpine route of the Wilmot Pass, through some of Fiordland National Park’s most dense rainforest. On reaching Deep Cove, you will climb aboard a modern catamaran for a 2.75-hour cruise, exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. See waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife. Your knowledgeable nature guides will provide you with engaging and informative commentary throughout. You will be treated to the sound of silence when the vessel’s engines are turned off. Experience floating on the fiord, with only the rush of waterfalls and birdsong to break the silence. Bring your own lunch, or you may purchase snacks on board in the vessel’s cafes. If you would like to preorder a picnic lunch, you may contact the local partner directly after booking. When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is especially dramatic. The scenery is spectacular, and you will stay dry and comfortable from your vantage point on the catamaran. At the end of your cruise, return over Wilmot Pass by coach and cruise across Lake Manapouri before the bus journey back to Queenstown.

Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

9. Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

Get away from the overcrowded buses, long lines, and obstructed views, and enjoy pure premium travel as you embark on a fabulous small group tour to discover New Zealand's renowned Milford Sound. Combining premium travel in a Mercedes with an amazing scenic nature cruise, a picnic lunch (optional), and loads of off-the-beaten-track visits to stunning locations, this really is the best way to discover Milford Sound. Travel to Milford in style in a luxury Mercedes minivan fully equipped with Wi-Fi, bottled water, and large viewing windows for taking in the amazing sights. Enjoy plenty of stops along the way. Upon arrival to Milford, take a scenic 2-hour cruise along the fjord, where you can lap up the spectacular sights and go under waterfalls. Allow your local guide to provide you with informative commentary while you absorb the lush surrounding scenery and spectacular views. Along the way, you'll see everything from cascading waterfalls, mirrored lakes, and awe-inspiring mountains to fascinating fur seals and dolphins. There is even a stop at a native beech forest where you can take a leisurely stroll. This premium experience is topped off with a delicious picnic lunch which can be enjoyed on the cruise while soaking up the views, before traveling back to Queenstown.

Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

10. Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

Travel to Milford Sound for an extended nature cruise on a day trip from Queenstown. Experience one of the most beautiful drives in the world in the comfort of a state-of-the-art coach. After meeting at a central location in Queenstown, you'll board the luxury coach and journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu into rolling countryside through to Te Anau. Take a short break, then continue along the spectacular alpine route of the Milford Road. Enjoy photo stops and short walks along the way. Relax on an extended nature cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and admire the fiord’s wildlife, waterfalls and mountains along the way. A specialist nature guide will provide live informative commentary. You can also bring your own lunch or purchase snacks and drinks (cash only) on-board. Following the cruise, board the coach for your return journey to Queenstown that allows for bathroom breaks. Be dropped off back in Queenstown at around 7:45 PM.

Frequently asked questions about Fiordland National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Fiordland?

The other unmissable things to do in Fiordland are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Fiordland

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What people are saying about Fiordland

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 839 reviews

Fabulous cruise, certainly helped by beautiful weather, and the scenery is simply stunning. The "Faith" is a beautiful old boat and the crew, George and Sam, are most hospitable and friendly, and totally passionate about the boat the the tour they offer. The walk to the Hidden Lake is beautiful and we were entertained by several black robins along the way. Just make sure you wear sturdy shoes. The most relaxing way to spend 3 hours in Te Anau, such good value. Thank you George and Adam, and to Adam for some beautiful bagpipe playing way out in the middle of the lake.

Best way to see it all in a short space of time! No words can explain what you will see from the plane and the history on the cruise was incredible. The seals an dolphins were an added bonus!!! Would do it again in a heartbeat! Absolutely loved it!

Absolutely fantastic, especially the scenic flights. Only change I would suggest is to allow time between the cruise and flight to walk around or sit and enjoy.

I took it for granted living in our beautiful country. Breathtaking views, both sea and landscape, accompanied by knowledgeable commentary.

Lovely small group tour. Great informative guide/driver, very good clean bus and boat. Highly recommend this tour