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Otago UNESCO sites

Our most recommended Otago UNESCO sites

Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

1. 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: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

2. From Queenstown: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

Visit breathtaking locations in Queenstown as you make your way to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Travel with a reliable tour guide who will share stories and rich background knowledge on Queenstown and the Mount Cook area. Start your tour in the stunning city of Queenstown. Drive through the Kawarau Suspension Bridge and marvel at the scenery the Kawarau Gorge has to offer. Stop at the Roaring Meg Lookout to take photos of your stunning view. Then, enter the region of Cromwell, famous for fruits and wine and where you can see huge fields of vines. Next, traverse the majestic Lindis Pass which lies between two valleys against a backdrop of a bright blue sky. This stretch of highway is one of the only three Alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. After taking photos at the top of the pass, drive through the Mackenzie District and visit the township of Omarama. Turning west, you'll enter Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, and Lake Pukaki will emerge in front of you. Proceed to the start of the Hooker Valley Track and depart on a 3-hour self-guided hike with amazing views of Hooker Lake, Hooker Glacier, and Mount Cook. Finish your tour by visiting High Country Salmon as you make your way back to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

3. Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise

Feel the thrill of soaring over the Tutoko Glacier on flight between Queenstown and Milford Sound. Explore the beauty of Fiordland National Park on a catamaran tour and see glacier-carved fjords and a magnificent beech forest. Enjoy complimentary tea or coffee on your trip.  Take a scenic flight over the mountains and valleys of South Island, and appreciate the beauty of the dramatic landscape between Queenstown and Milford Sound. Enjoy bird's eye views of the Southern Lakes, Tutoko Glacier, and Milford Fiord. If you have time after the flight, walk through the bush to the boat docks with your pilot and learn about the native environment. Climb aboard the Spirit of Milford catamaran, and explore the legendary body of water for 2 hours. Marvel at the flora and fauna, and get up close to native wildlife, including rare Fiordland crested penguins in the Spring and Fall. Appreciate the grandeur of the cliffs rising hundreds of meters from the water. Get within touching distance of impressive geological features, and feel the full force of the powerful Stirling Falls. Join the skipper on the bridge for a bird's-eye view, and to discover how the boat operates.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Cruise with Helicopter Transfer

4. Queenstown: Milford Sound Cruise with Helicopter Transfer

Enjoy this incomparable Milford Sound experience, which includes a helicopter flight and a luxury cruise. Take off from Queenstown to spend the day experiencing the incredible Fiordland National Park from the sky, land, and water. After getting picked up from your hotel in Queenstown, head to Queenstown Helicopter Base, where you’ll meet the team and join a safety briefing before boarding your helicopter. Afterward, take to the skies and start your scenic flight from Queenstown. Learn about the area through an in-flight commentary from your pilot as you glide over alpine lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers, before arriving for your cruise on Milford Sound. Look out for local wildlife on your journey through Fiordland National Park. Before heading back to Queenstown, a remote alpine landing tops off this up-close exploration of UNESCO World Heritage wilderness.

Milford Sound & Big 5 Glaciers Scenic Flight from Queenstown

5. Milford Sound & Big 5 Glaciers Scenic Flight from Queenstown

Discover some of Mount Aspiring, Fiordland National Parks largest glaciers, and Milford Sound itself on a scenic flight. Each tour is guaranteed to see at least five major glaciers. These glaciers are kiwi secrets that have been reserved to advanced mountaineers or a select few tourists traveling by air from Wanaka. Begin with complimentary pick-up around 7:15 AM from your central Queenstown accommodation. After check-in completion, your pilot will give a thorough pre-flight briefing on the route and scenic highlights likely to be encountered. Depart Queenstown airport at 8:00 AM, the flight path tracks north up the world famous Shotover Canyon, passing Lake Lochnagar to Mount Aspiring. New Zealand has 7 glaciers that span greater than 10 hectares, and Volta Glacier, the only one in the Southern Lakes, happens to reside on the northern side of Mount Aspiring. Turn west toward Milford Sound to be mesmerized flying down glacier alley, the Olivine Ice Plateau, a unique glacial amphitheater. Further west toward Milford Sound, fly over Mount Tutoko and the Donne and Age Glaciers, before capturing the Fiord of Milford before the return flight back to Queenstown. Enjoy a complimentary return shuttle to your hotel to conclude your experience around 9:30 AM.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flyover with Hotel Pickup

6. Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flyover with Hotel Pickup

Experience unimpaired views of New Zealand's South Island's South West Coast from the comfort of your window seat as you fly through a landscape of unbelievable grandeur and beauty onboard a fixed-wing aircraft. Your expert local pilot will provide interesting and informative commentary on the 1 hour 10 minutes flight. Depart from Queenstown Airport and head north over the Coronet Peak skifield, historic Skippers Canyon and the Shotover River - the second-richest gold-bearing river in the world. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and glacier-fed braided rivers as you fly along the Dart River Valley into the World Heritage Area of Mt. Aspiring National Park. Continue your breathtaking journey into the Fiordland National Park, over the rugged West Coast and the Tasman Sea before a quick U-turn descending into Milford Sound itself. Fly down the middle of the Fiord, with the dramatic sheer mountains on either side, and aerial views of the cascading Stirling Falls. Return to Queenstown on a different flight path over the stunning World Heritage Area, over Lake Quill and the Sutherland Falls. Snap memorable pictures along the way or simply sit back and marvel at the stunning landscape beneath you.

West Coast: Eco River Safari in UNESCO World Heritage Area

7. West Coast: Eco River Safari in UNESCO World Heritage Area

With your local guides who were previously commercial pilots, travel to the top of the river and listen to informative commentary with multiple photography stops. At the top head out on an optional walk, good for all ages. View the untouched scenery of mountains and ancient rainforest. Enjoy local morning tea and a chance to take in the whole surrounding area with stunning photo opportunities. Then you'll have a speedy trip down to the Tasman Sea, finishing in a side stream to visit the whitebait breeding grounds. If your group is 6 people or over, you will enjoy a BBQ meal at the end of the tour, with whitebait, crayfish, venison, salads and refreshments.

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What people are saying about Otago

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 11 reviews

It was a good activity overall. The boat is definitely smaller than the other options a Milford, but it's certainly not "boutique" or "small" as the name suggests. There was a good ~50 people on board - but again, it's less than the other cruises from other providers in Milford. The guide and other staff were great, and it was nice that they provided basic tea and coffee without charging extra. The speakers were also clear and audible, not distorted like on other boats. I'd certainly do the cruise again if I was to visit Milford, getting us up and close to a lot of the sights. Would be nice if the captain didn't just point the front of the boat to the view though, as all the people on the sides (particularly for the people inside the cabins) can't see anything with the front deck full. Would be good to show the sights to both the people on the front deck, as well as at least one side of the boat so everyone can easily see. Lastly, bring insect repellant! The sand flies are NO JOKE.

This is a really good tour. I did not have much time in the area but this 12 hour tour was fabulous. Our guide was really lovely and very knowledgable. Hooker Valley was beautiful. We had lots of little breaks which was nice. Bus/Van was very clean and comfortable.

This is very good trip. A must to go in your tavel bucket list to new zealand. Remember to bring cap and suncream as there is no shelter along th paths. It is really hot during summer.

A must do activity! The boat ride was superb! We were blessed with great weather. Getting to the location takes time so give yourself plenty of time.

Great cruise! Amazing landscapes and very nice crew