Queenstown
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Our most recommended Queenstown Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Te Anau: Milford Sound Bus, Cruise, Observatory, and Lunch

1. Te Anau: Milford Sound Bus, Cruise, Observatory, and Lunch

Set off on a day trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound and enjoy a more intimate and in-depth experience of Milford Sound. Discover the native wildlife, towering waterfalls, and majestic mountains of the fiord on an intimate cruise on a smaller boat. Journey through spectacular landscapes as your experienced, local bus driver provides engaging and informative commentary. Enjoy short walks and photo stops along Milford Road. Arrive at Milford Sound and relax on a nature cruise with a freshly prepared picnic lunch onboard. Get within touching distance of impressive rock walls and up close to Stirling Falls. Your passionate skipper will share their local knowledge with lively and informative commentary. Visit Milford Sound Underwater Observatory along the way. Descend 60 steps down a spiral staircase into a spacious viewing chamber to discover the unique and beautiful environment hidden under the surface of Milford Sound. Cruise back to the Milford Sound Visitor Centre to re-join the bus for the return journey to Te Anau.

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Milford Sound Fiord Cruise & Helicopter Glacier Landing

2. Milford Sound Fiord Cruise & Helicopter Glacier Landing

Discover Milford Sound's stunning fjord from high in the air and on the water. Land in Milford and join an unforgettable fjord cruise past sheer cliffs and gushing waterfalls.Try to spot dolphins, seals, and adorable penguins. Then enjoy an exhilarating flight past spectacular rivers, valleys, and mountains with blue-green ice falls, and experience a glacier or mountain landing in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Today, many of the local landscapes can be recognized because of their use as film locations. You can even fly over where movies were filmed! The pilots regularly work with film production crews and are happy to share plenty of stories of life on the film set. Finally, for the photo opportunity of a lifetime, alight on a glacier and enjoy panoramic views. These highly experienced, well-known local pilots can’t wait to share with you their extensive knowledge and history of the area while showing you the best of New Zealand's amazing scenery. Please note that there may not be snow on the day of your flight depending on the season, especially during summer.

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Milford Sound Full Day Tour from Queenstown

3. Milford Sound Full Day Tour from Queenstown

In the heart of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is known as one of New Zealand’s top scenic attractions. On this day tour from Queenstown, jump on board an air-conditioned coach and be entertained with commentary from your driver/guide. After passing through the 1.2-kilometer-long Homer Tunnel, descend into Milford Sound. Here jump on board a boat to cruise along the fjord. Take in the famous sights, like the uniquely-shaped Mitre Peak and the glacier-scarred rock. Keep an eye out for marine life like dolphins, seals, and penguins too. The fjord is dotted with waterfalls that tumble through the valleys and crash into the sound far below, making the scenery in Milford Sound spectacular, rain or shine.

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Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

4. Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

Join a fully-guided, small-group day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound; the crowning jewel of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, the Chasm, and Homer Tunnel. You will also enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and Kea bird spotting (the world’s largest alpine parrot). You will then travel through the mind-blowing Homer Tunnel, emerging as the valley descends sharply down to Milford Sound, with its hundreds of waterfalls cascading into the crystal clear waters beneath. At Milford Sound you will take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close with nature and wildlife. Onboard your cruise you will have up-close views of thousands of waterfalls, Mitre Peak, as well as local wildlife, providing you with hundreds of amazing photo opportunities along the way. Following your cruise you will begin the return journey back to Queenstown, stopping again in Te Anau for a quick break. At the end of the day, your guide will drop you back to your Queenstown accommodation, or you can opt to upgrade to a scenic, one-way flight back from Milford instead (to be booked during the booking process). Choose this option for the ultimate view over the mountains and region during your return journey.

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Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

5. 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.

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Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

6. Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

This coach trip includes a Milford Sound cruise aboard a comfortable, purpose-built cruise boat with optional lunch and refreshments. Enjoy multiple stops on your way to Milford Sound which makes the day even more amazing! When you arrive in Te anau - your first stop of the day - enjoy a toilet break and time to grab something from the cafe. They have great coffee, muffins and snacks! Enjoy a stop at the mirror lakes, a beautiful 5 minute boardwalk through a rainforest and other photo opportunities that make your journey to Milford Sound even more special.  On arrival at Milford Sound you immediately proceed to the boat terminal, where your driver will give you your boat pass and direct you to your cruise boat. On boarding, make yourself comfortable in one of the saloons or catch the scenery from the decks. Milford Sound is famous for its waterfalls, and if it's raining it's even more spectacular. The boats nudge right up to the base of the waterfalls, often challenging visitors to fill a glass of water from the cascading plumes! This luxury tour already has reserved window seating for you - so no need to worry about getting a seat! On board feel free to buy yourself snacks and sandwiches from the cafe or treat yourself to a buffet lunch! The boats are often escorted by pods of dolphins, while seals bask on the rocks. Take in the stunning scenery while your skipper gets you as close as possible to the wildlife for some fantastic photos. The cruise will take you out to the point where the fiord meets the open sea, and it is here at Anita Bay that the Maori collected their sacred Pounamu or Greenstone – prized for making tools, jewelry and ornaments, and still a highly-valued stone today. 

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Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

7. 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.

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Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

8. Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Leaving Queenstown, travel around Lake Wakatipu with amazing views of "The Remarkables" Mountain Range with some stops to take fantastic photos. Then, enter Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, Hollyford River, Falls Creek, the Darran Mountains, and Homer Tunnel. Next, board your cruise on a small boat for an informative and personal tour of Milford Sound. Get closer to the wildlife and nature, including the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. See massive rock faces rising hundreds of meters out of the sea and waterfalls cascading from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, an iconic steep triangular peak, rising high up above the reflective waters. As day 1 comes to a close, enjoy an overnight stay in Te Anau where you can have dinner at a local restaurant or take an evening stroll around the lake. Day 2: Start Day 2 with pickup from your hotel and first visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see some of the rarest birds in the country, including the Takahe and Kaka. Visit your first Lord of the Rings attraction at the Dead Marshes and Rainbow Reach. Enjoy a viewpoint overlooking The Dead Marshes from an elevated position. At Rainbow Reach a cable bridge over the Waiau River, known as The River Anduin in the movie series leads you into the forest and Kepler Track. Next, explore the shores of Lake Manapouri and hear more about its history. Have a quick break at one of the local coffee shops before heading to the Mavora Lakes, which is one of the most famous LOTR sites in the region. After some free time here, continue back to Te Anau where you can take part in some more optional activities, with the final drop-off in Queenstown in the early evening.

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Queenstown: Scenic flight & Cruise in Doubtful Sound

9. Queenstown: Scenic flight & Cruise in Doubtful Sound

On this full-day tour from Queenstown you will explore the beauty of Doubtful Sound, an ideal destination for travelers wanting a true New Zealand experience away from the crowds. This outstanding scenic tour includes flights between Queenstown and Manapouri, making this journey much more manageable for families compared to the slower alternative by coach. This tour of Doubtful Sound offers a wonderful opportunity for travelers who have already visited Milford Sound and want to explore more of this unique New Zealand environment. This tour is also an ideal wet weather option if Milford Sound is closed due to inclement weather because the flight to Doubtful Sound is not as weather dependent as the flight to Milford Sound. Following the glorious scenic flight, you will connect to a cruise departing from Pearl Harbor on Lake Manapouri. At the head of the lake is New Zealand's largest hydro-electric power station, which was first completed in 1971 and considered a feat of engineering in New Zealand history.  Next on the tour is a coach journey across Wilmot Pass down to Deep Cove. A catamaran boat will then whisk you to the head of Doubtful Sound, where you will be inspired by the area rich in flora and fauna. At 421 meters deep, Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords in the area, and is long and winding with 3 distinct “arms”. On this scenic excursion you can look out for New Zealand fur seals and the Fiordland Crested Penguin on the many small islets at the entrance of the fiord during the Penguin breeding season.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Queenstown

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What people are saying about Queenstown

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 193 reviews

Experience was spectacular. Paulie, the driver / tour guide did a tremendous job with the trip. I don’t have any bad reviews overall in our trip.

It was amazing and so worth the money. It was a beautiful and sunny day in New Zealand and the views were spectacular.

Tour was incredible and guide was very knowledgeable and fun. We had a lot of laughs along the way! Thank you!!!

Great - Bo was very friendly and took us to many stops along the way to Milford Sound.

Well worth it. The journey was just as beautiful as the destination.