Tours and Tickets
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory
4.5

Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory

By Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises
Recommended by 92% of travellers
92% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
This Milford Sound cruise provides the discerning traveler plenty of options. A choice of cruises—“nature,” “encounter,” or “scenic”—allows for a customized visit. Each tour includes admission to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory and lunch (select a picnic or buffet at booking). Complimentary tea and coffee are served on board.
from
AU$159.10
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 75 per group
Duration: 3h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Written guide
Print or digital reading material such as a guide, map, brochure, etc.
: German, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, English, French, Spanish
More

Highlights
  • Milford Sound tour includes several cruise boat options
  • Admission to the Underwater Observatory enhances the experience
  • All-inclusive tour: the longest and best-value cruise available

  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
  • Complimentary tea and coffee on board the boat
  • Entry/Admission - Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
What's not included
  • Alcoholic drinks, snacks and bottled water (available to purchase)
  • Transportation to/from attractions
  • On arrival at Milford Sound you can park at the Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $10 per hour.


Start:
  • Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre, Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3960P13

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Please advise of your country of origin at the time of booking
    • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
    • Commentary in English only, translation sheets on cruise highlights are provided on board cruise
    • Car Parking: On arrival at Milford Sound you can park at the Milford Sound carpark at a fee of $10 per hour. Please allow 10 minutes to walk from the main carpark to the Milford Wharf Visitor Centre. Alternatively, you can park free of charge at Deepwater Basin Carpark and walk over to Freshwater Basin to the Cruise Terminal. This walk is approximately 30 minutes in duration, so additional time will need to be allocated in order to do this comfortably and arrive at the terminal 15 minutes prior to your cruise for check-in.
    • Most travellers can participate
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 75 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    Which attractions will I visit with Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory?
    How much is Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory?
    Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory price starts from AU$158.19. Discover and book Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory on Tripadvisor
    What is the Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory cancellation policy?
    Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory?
    Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory is hosted by Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3960P13

    Reserve your spot
    Revenue impacts the experiences featured on this page, learn more.

    Similar experiences

    Itinerary
    • You'll start at
      Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
      Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound Highway 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
      See address & details
    • 1
      Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Visitor Centre
      Stop: 10 minutes
      See details
    • 2
      Milford Sound
      Stop: 2 hours
      See details
      Pass by
      Stirling Falls
      Bowen Falls
      Sinbad Gully
    • 3
      Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
      Stop: 45 minutes - Admission included
      See details
    • You'll return to the starting point
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises
      2,027
      New Zealand
      Joined in July 2009
    • azwanisa2024
      0 contributions
      Fantastic trip for family with small kids
      We were very satisfied with our day trip to Milford Sound. Southern Discoveries picked us up from our apartment in the morning to our coach. The coach was comfortable, airconditioned, with glass roof ceilings just like in the photos. The bus driver/tour guide was very skillful, informative and had some funny stories to keep us awake. The cruise was great too, spacious and not too crowded. The views of course were amazing. But the highlight of our tour was the flyback home with Milford Air. We had a lovely pilot. It was safe and definitely worth it. Not just because its only 40 minutes back to Queenstown but we had the most amazing views from above. We were a family of 7 with kids youngest 5 yo and the eldest 15 yo, so this combination was great for us. And they even shuttled us back to our apartment afterwards.
      Written 22 February 2024
    • kims936
      0 contributions
      Beautiful Views with Boxed Lunch
      No one can dispute the views while on the tour are amazing, whether in rain or sunshine. However one would have expected much more detailed information on the geology of the area or history. It was basically a boat ride not a tour by any means.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • Dreamer407589
      0 contributions
      Mountains
      Fiordland National Park was amazing. Best part of the trip! Our driver, Shale, was exceptional! If we could have afforded it we would have flown back and saved the return trip.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • lescoffey
      0 contributions
      Great trip by Southern Discoveries and Air Milford in Queenstown
      This was our last big excursion of our trip to New Zealand from US. Our driver over on the coach, Shayle, was excellent. Very knowledgeable and it was easy to understand his instructions and details. He took good care of us. The fly back was just breathtakingly beautiful-I highly recommend going back this way. The eight seater plane was operated by Emma at Air Milford. She explained what we were seeing and the aerial view-I was awestruck by the beauty.
      Written 20 February 2024
    • france456
      0 contributions
      Fantastic day out
      Absolutely fantastic day out. Jamie our driver/guide was great, really friendly and knowledgeable. We had plenty of stops on the drive to Milford Sound to take photos. The boat trip & observatory were well worth doing, the scenery is spectacular. The picnic lunch was also very good!
      Written 20 February 2024
    • georgecE8389EV
      0 contributions
      Fantastic time for all.
      Our bus driver was brilliant great knowledge and humour explained so many things. We felt safe through the whole trip. The boat ride through the Milford Sounds was superb. The whole trip from start to finish was superb with heaps of laughs, food on the boat and photos. Recommend to the MAX
      Written 17 February 2024
    • D2511ZJmelanieb
      0 contributions
      Milford Sound coach tour
      Coach trip was good, but long on the way back could do with breaking that up as well. The boat trip was good except that the toilet facilities were basically all broken and for a full boat doesn’t work well. Overall good day though
      Written 17 February 2024
    • keithbradley1962
      0 contributions
      A Long Day - But Beautiful Scenary
      Milford Sound is awesome! Beautiful ! Buffet was pretty OK. Be aware though, that the journey to/from Queenstown is a long one…essentially a 12.5 hr trip with a 1hr 45 min cruise. The nature component of the trip was the driver providing a running commentary of flora and fauna en route to the Fiord.
      Written 16 February 2024
    • markwR8242JH
      0 contributions
      Great cruise and lots of space.
      Awesome cruise around Milford Sounds. Large boat with lots of viewing space on the top deck and space inside if needed. Would definitely recommend.
      Written 16 February 2024
    • AnneGordonCousins
      0 contributions
      Brilliant Milford Sounds tour !
      Absolutely fantastic tour to Milford Sounds with our awesome driver Andy! His knowledge & enthusiasm on the trip was awesome!! Such a beautiful & picturesque tour. Would definitely recommend this tour with Altitude tours Anne & Gordon, Scotland
      Written 14 February 2024
    • Jet00233235489
      0 contributions
      Amazing, great service
      Highly recommend, lovely driver and commentary, I learned a lot , amazing place Stunning landscapes, recommend the coach as it’s very long drive, can rest of on way back
      Written 13 February 2024
    • Sally M
      0 contributions
      Highly recommend
      Excellent, efficient, informative, and a good length of time to view the amazing nature around. We didn’t go to the observatory as wanted to be outside. Highly recommend.
      Written 12 February 2024
    • Deanosonholiday
      0 contributions
      Queenstown to Milford sound, the guide made the day!
      A 4-5 hour trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown had me concerned but I needn't have worried. I was unaware that Brandon was not just a driver of the bus but a well informed and entertaining guide that made the time fly by. He even demonstrated his driving skills when confronted by a recently fallen tree! We had a great day out and would recommend such a well put together trip.
      Written 5 February 2024
    • Connector769842
      0 contributions
      Incredible & unforgettable
      I only had 2 full days in Queenstown so was unsure whether to do the trip but it was worth the full day and worth every penny! The journey there was just as incredible as Milford itself. The weather varied throughout the day but the views are super in any setting. I had Keith as a driver who was amazing and insightful. Would recommend to anyone!
      Written 4 February 2024
    • 110sharadp
      0 contributions
      Excellent experience overall on the Southern Discoveries tour
      We had an excellent experience overall on the Southern Discoveries tour. The bus ride from Queenstown, the cruise, the buffet lunch (good vegetarian and vegan options) and the underwater observatory are all great. Don't forget to take a warm beanie for the cruise, and some insect repellent if you are going to the underwater observatory.
      Written 3 February 2024
    See all 2 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

    Popular mentions

    We perform checks on reviews.
    Tripadvisor’s approach to reviews
    Before posting, each Tripadvisor review goes through an automated tracking system, which collects information, answering the following questions: how, what, where and when. If the system detects something that potentially contradicts our community guidelines, the review is not published.
    When the system detects a problem, a review may be automatically rejected, sent to the reviewer for validation, or manually reviewed by our team of content specialists, who work 24/7 to maintain the quality of the reviews on our site.
    Our team checks each review posted on the site disputed by our community as not meeting our community guidelines.
    Learn more about our review moderation.
    4.5
    160 reviews
    Excellent
    127
    Very good
    21
    Average
    8
    Poor
    0
    Terrible
    4

    LPHDK
    Copenhagen, Denmark1,067 contributions
    Jan 2020
    We booked the Scenic Cruise with underwater stop and the picnic lunch. After we booked, we found out that on top of the rather steep price you had to pay 10 NZD PR HOUR!!! Actually, we had read it as 10 NZD for the parking and found out it was by the hour when we got there!
    We paid for 4 hours, as we came early as recommended and the tour should take 2 – 2 ¼ hour and the 20 minutes on top for the underwater stop.
    We went to check in – luckily, they could find us in their system, as there is no connection either on your phone or wifi!
    We were given 2xboardingpass, 2xlunchpass, 2xunderwater-pass – and no further instructions! I asked about the underwater, as I had seen a review, where somebody missed it – but if you miss it, it is absolutely your own fault as it is announced very clearly – but this is all I was told.
    On the screens it said dock no. 10, but as no boat arrived and I went in to ask, I saw on a sign at the counter it was actually dock 12!
    So we got onboard. When the captain was speaking over the sound system, it was close to impossible to hear anything! He was very NZ and mumbling. But when the young girl was doing the commentary, we could hear it all.
    We got our picnic-lunches after we undocked, but again why were we not informed about how this worked.
    The tour was very beautiful even on a rainy day like this was. You get up close and personal with the mountains and the waterfalls. You can borrow some raincoats on the boat. You can also get really wet if you stand on the front of the boat and get a “glacial facial” drips from the waterfall that is fed by the glacier!
    I was happy that I had dry clothes in the car 😊
    When it was time to get off the boat for the underwater stop we were told that we could get another boat back in an HOUR – so it would not add just 20 minutes – the sail back alone would take 20 minutes! So now we had a choice to make, as we would not be able to make it back in time before our parking would run out!
    The guy I spoke just said “they will not tow you” when he said we could not make it back in time! I was sitting inside fuming, when the young girl came and asked, and she said we could extend the parking online (but how with no connection), but by then the boat had literally sailed! She also offered to talk to the office to send us out there on another boat but it had already been too long a day and we had a long drive ahead back.
    We are not 1st time travelers, we do our due diligence, but this company had the worst communication and customer service! One nice girl on the the does unfortunately not make up for the bad experience – too little too late!
    So my advice would be – take that cruise – with another company!
    Written 29 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    RosieB
    1 contribution
    Jan 2020 • Family
    Waste of time and money. We were bitten by lots of sandflys and only saw a couple of fish. Water was murky. You are left there for 45 minutes and you could of seen it all in 10. The staff tried to drag out the visit by asking everyone where they were from and reading the information off the walls. Couldn’t wait to get out of there.
    Written 6 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    alpakhan
    New Zealand120 contributions
    Dec 2021
    Back in 2016, we’ve been here for The Discover More Cruise at rainy day and the cruise was simply amazing. Breathtaking view of so many waterfalls! But couldn’t see much in the underwater observatory due to heavy rain, so this time we picked a fine weather day for particularly to go to the underwater observatory.

    There are other companies runs Milford Sound cruise at the price from $59/per adult while Southern Discovery charge $89/$107(incl observatory), but I was happy to pay since this is the only option includes the observatory.

    But unfortunately there was an error at the boarding process and we couldn’t go to observatory. We were excited and ready to get down from the boat when the boat was stopping at the observatory, but been told that our ticket doesn’t include it.
    After a while they discovered that it was an error, then they apologised and offered us a refund. I thought it must be a full refund so we could book again later. But they refunded just $46. I was shocked as we had to pay again $254.20 if we want to go the underwater observatory for next attempt.
    Cruise at the sunny day has a clearer view but less dynamic to compare to the rainy days. I wouldn’t have paid over $200 for just a cruise at the sunny day. Very disappointed for their service.
    Written 7 January 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora, We're so sorry for the confusion on the day with your booking which resulted in you being put on the wrong cruise. We would love to host you again in Milford free or charge on the Discover More Cruise. Please get in touch with marketing@southerndiscoveries.co.nz the next time you are visiting and we can get this sorted for you. Thanks,
    Written 11 January 2022
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    realtangobabe
    NEW ZEALAND73 contributions
    Feb 2023 • Couples
    If you plan to see the Milford Sound this is the company I would go with. They are the only ones who take you to the underwater observatory which was fantastic. The price includes a large picnic lunch and they took us right to the end of the sound. The crew also spotted some penguins and gave us time to view. Would recommend taking the first cruise in the morning even if you have to get up super early as then you almost have the sound to yourself!
    Written 27 February 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    PhilnTrace
    Wellington47 contributions
    May 2021 • Couples
    We took a 3 hour trip with Southern Discoveries on Milford Sound and were so lucky. The weather delivered for us - clearing skies after a big big storm the night before. We were lucky to experience snow covered peaks, gushing water falls all around, flat water and sun. 10/10 for the environment!

    The tour was all that we wanted. Smallish vessel, only 20 passengers (but not full) allowing us seats by the windows, and ample space to move around the vessel inside and outside on the top deck. Because the size of the boat, it was able to get very close to the sides of the cliffs and under the waterfalls. It was clean and well worth the price from our point of view.

    We were pleasantly surprised by the ‘Underwater Observatory’ part of the trip as well which is a very special submerged observation pod where you can see quite a lot of unique coral and fish. This part of the tour was lead by a tour guide who was a marine biologist and very informative.

    Lunch was brown bag and was ok; one of us had gluten free and the other was vegan. Nether has was spectacular, but nor did we really expect that. We always wonder why coffee can’t be better on these trips!
    Written 23 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Filkiwi
    Wellington, New Zealand32 contributions
    Went on the cruise during a torrent of rain, fully knowing it will be the best time to see the thousands of waterfalls in Milford Sound!

    The crew were so helpful and the skipper had great commentary! He manoeuvred the boat really well taking us through the Sound and then went right up to a waterfall, twice!

    The underwater observatory was a really cool and amazing structure. Enjoyed my time with the fishes that were hanging around including the helpful info from the guide.

    Would definitely do this cruise again!
    Written 6 December 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora Filkiwi Thanks for the great review Kind regards and safe travels Kerry Southern Discoveries
    Written 5 January 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Bluegardenia777
    San Leandro, CA26 contributions
    And I were on holiday and chose this cruise line for for whale watching. The boat was big and clean. And you’ll be happy to know that they are real caretakers of the sea. If you pay to take this journey is used to two testing the waters to be sure that the mammals are dwelling safely. Well they cannot promise that you will see where else they go out of your way to look for them. We saw mother and her calf that day. And many dolphins. We would recommend it highly! If you’re giving to motion sickness don’t know when you got sick on the boat with a proprietary recommend that you take your motion sickness medicine the day before.
    Written 4 January 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Kathrine R
    Waipu, New Zealand2 contributions
    Apr 2022
    A superb day out on the Lady Bowen, thanks to the wonderful staff of Southern Discoveries. The commentary was informative throughout the day but also gave time to take in the scenery without too much background noise. The picnic lunch provided was tasty and sufficient with hot drinks available from the bar. Special enjoyment was when the skipper took the Lady Bowen up under the waterfalls and we also saw the bottlenose and hectares dolphins in their natural habitat. The Underwater Observatory was a bonus, seeing creatures of the deep (10 metres below sea level), and the guide was very informative and knowledgeable.
    Written 26 April 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora, Thank you for your review. Fantastic to hear you enjoyed your cruise in Milford Sound onboard Lady Bowen - it certainly is amazing getting up so close to those amazing waterfalls! Very lucky to see Dolphins too! Thanks again for recommending Southern Discoveries. Nga Mihi, Jayne
    Written 1 May 2022
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    AXSYD
    Sydney, Australia218 contributions
    Jan 2023 • Couples
    We booked the morning Milford Sound Discover More Cruise. This proved to be the perfect choice for anyone staying in Milford Sound overnight. It meant we avoided the flood of tour buses that pack out the afternoon cruise in Summer. The Sound was mirror still as we departed the dock setting the scene for a truly memorable experience. Throughout the cruise we found the commentary informative without being intrusive. Our boat took its time to traverse first one side of the fjord before retracing its track along along the opposing shore line. The weather proved calm enough for us to drive out past the headlands and briefly venture into the Tasman Sea. We stopped several times to watch seals entering the water and, much to the delight of those on board, the captain briefly dipped the bow into the spray of the Stirling Falls. The underwater observatory was truly phenomenal. Informative displays at floor level provided plenty of history and aquatic facts while the observatory downstairs offered an extraordinary view of the Sound’s abundant sea life. Who knew the Sounds were alive with so many aquatic creatures? We spent three hours cruising the Sound. The pace of the cruise always felt unhurried. The boat was also clean, spacious and well appointed. The staff were genuine, friendly and helpful. Without doubt this is a cruise filled with plenty of highlights and wonderful memories. It’s well worth the money!
    Written 22 April 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    SesJ
    Nelson, New Zealand62 contributions
    We did the Discover More cruise which included a visit to the underwater observatory and we also had a very generous packed lunch as part of our deal. We were on one of the smaller vessels but there was plenty of space outdoors and our very knowledgeable skipper kept up an interesting commentary. The staff were friendly and the scenery was spectacular! We loved nosing under Stirling Falls and feeling the spray. The underwater observatory was a real highlight for our 8 year old and the passionate and knowledgeable staff there provided some great facts. It’s strange feeling like the fish are watching you! Would definitely recommend this 3 hour experience.
    Written 25 April 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Kia ora Ses, Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a great review.We're stoked to hear you enjoyed your experience with us. The underwater observatory is pretty cool, did you know it's New Zealand's only floating underwater observatory? We're glad the team looked after you and hopefully we'll see you back in Milford Sound again soon. Ngā mihi, Ciara
    Written 29 April 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Showing results 1-10 of 148

    Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory provided by Southern Discoveries - Milford Sound Cruises