• Milford Cruise Only
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    Times & Prices

    $55.00 / adult ticket Departures: 9:15am summer, 9:45am winter
    $69.00 / adult ticket Departures: 11:15am summer , 11:45am winter
    $79.00 / adult ticket Departures: 1:15pm summer, 1:45pm winter
    $65.00 / adult ticket Departures: 3:15pm summer
  • Coach+Cruise+Coach
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    Times & Prices

    ECO Tours Fiordland - $199.00 / adult ticket
    Departs Queenstown: 7:30 summer / 8:00am winter
    JUCY Cruize Coach - $119.00 / adult ticket
    Departs Queenstown: 8:30am summer / 8:00am winter
    Eco Tours Milford Sound - $99.00 / adult ticket
    Departs Te Anau: 8:30am summer / 9:00am winter
  • Coach+Cruise+Fly
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    Times & Prices

    ECO Tours Fiordland - $589.00 / adult ticket
    Flight departs Milford Sound: 3:15pm
    JUCY Cruize coach - $509.00 / adult ticket
    Flight departs Milford Sound: 5:00pm
  • Fly+Cruise+Fly
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    Times & Prices

    ex Queenstown - Plane: $469.00 / adult
    Helicopter: $1,190.00 / adult (min 2 people)
    ex Wanaka - Plane: $490.00 / adult
Book a Milford Sound cruise from $65.00
Winter Specials

 BOOK NOW & ENJOY OUR SPRING SPECIALS

  • ECO Tours Fiordland coach & cruise Milford Sound tour departing Queenstown - Buy 1 get 1 Half Price (save 25% on bookings of multiples of 2 adults). Book online or call 0800 367 326 to enquire.

 

  • ECO Tours Milford Sound coach & cruise tour departing Te Anau - Price reduction - was $119,  now $99 per adult.

 

  • 9:15am cruise - WOW,  only $45 

 

  • 11:45am cruise - Book online and save $10. Was $69 Now $59

 

  • 1:45pm cruise - Book online and save $10. Was $79 Now $69

  • Fly to Milford Sound with Eco Tours - $399. Valid until 31 Oct 14

 

  • Check out our Pita Pit oultlet onboard the boat for fresh and gret tasting lunches.

 

 

 

Latest Special

Piopiotahi : Milford Sound

Milford Sound is the northern most of 14 fiords that make up the spectacular coastline of Fiordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area and our Milford Sound boat cruises travel the 16km length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and back.

Visitors arriving in Milford Sound for boat tours tend to be magnetised instantly as the Cleddau Valley reveals Milford's breathtaking landscape and its dominant landmark mountains, Bowen Falls and the sheer cliffs of the fiord.

Take the time before your Milford Sound boat tours begin to walk the foreshore tracks and experience the grandeur and the enormous forces that carved out this place. Stunning views can be obtained and awesome photo opportunities of the fiord, Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls can be had with very little effort. Mitre Peak, dominating the skyline at 1692m, a pinnacle of rock that forms the world's highest sea cliff, is one of the most photographed mountains in New Zealand.

As you cruise through Milford Sound on one of our Milford Sound boat tours you will enjoy commentary about this mystical, magical and magnificent corner of New Zealand from your friendly crew.

Milford Sound Cruise Highlight map
  • Milford Sound


Milford Sound Statistics

  • Length: 16km
  • Average depth: 330m
  • Widest point: 2kms
  • Narrowest point: 620m wide (Copper Point)
  • Entrance: 550wide (Dale Point)
  • Rainfall: 6526mm annually
  • Rain days: 180
  • Mean Winter temp: 1.3ºC (July)
  • Mean Summer temp: 18.8ºC (January)

Milford Sound Features

  • Captain Cook missed Milford Sound on two occasions as he sailed along the Fiordland coast. Milford Sound is completely hidden from view from the open ocean so it was left to John Grono, a sealer, who finally discovered it in 1823 and named it Milford Haven after his birthplace in Wales.

    Milford's first settler, Donald Sutherland (the hermit of Milford due to his hostile and curmudgeonly behaviour to those he disliked) arrived in 1877 and built a three hut "City of Milford". After marrying Elizabeth Samuel (the mother of Milford as she mellowed Donald's behaviour), Donald transformed Milford City by building a 12 room accommodation house (Milford's first hotel).

    Donald Sutherland discovered Sutherland Falls in 1880, the world fifth highest dropping 580m in three leaps. Donald lived in Milford for 42 years and died in 1919.

    A government hotel was built at the original hostel site in 1928 and stayed there until it was destroyed by fire in 1952. The rebuilt version opened in 1954.

  • As you travel through the fiord on your Milford Sound Sightseeing Cruise you will view some of the most impressive valleys, cliffs and rock formations in New Zealand.

    The atmosphere in the Sound can feel almost eerie as the seemingly timeless, silent rocks stare down onto your Milford Sound sightseeing cruise. The rocks of Milford Sound and the rest of Fiordland were formed over 600 million years ago and are known as the Western Province crystalline rocks, which are very hard and resistant to erosion.

    The rocks of Fiordland were once part of an extensive “shield mountain range” located on the eastern side of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland. Over many 100 millions of years they have been eroded down, moved about by tectonic plate movements, remoulded and reformed to become what they are now down here in the South Pacific. While there is some granite in Fiordland, the most common rocks of Milford Sound are varieties of gneiss and diorite. At Dale Point the Gneiss contains garnet crystals up to 2.5cm in diameter and at Poison Bay a little to the south the garnet crystals can be as large as 10cm in diameter.

    During past tectonic movements, rocks that were buried as deep as 20-40kms were subjected to immense heat and pressure causing minerals to re-crystallise. Nephrite, jade, pounamu or greenstone was formed in this way about 200 million years ago and as mountains were uplifted the greenstone has become exposed. Most of the greenstone deposits at Milford exist in the Anita Ultramafics zone, which forms a stripe of very distinctive orange weathered rock that runs from Anita Bay to Poison Bay and is easily identified from the air.

    Glaciation in Milford Sound
    Milford Sound Glaciation

    Glaciation in Milford Sound

    There have been 12 major glacial phases during the last 2 million years. The last big freeze known as the Otiran Glaciation began about 80,000 years ago and kept the southern mountains ice bound until about 13,000 years ago. Ice descended the mountains and down the valleys forming rivers of ice up to 2000 metres thick.

    On the east side of Fiordland the glacier tongues carved out huge trenches where the lakes Te Anau, Manapouri, Hauroko, Monowai, Poteriteri, and Hakapoua now reside. They show an amazing symmetry with the fiords on the west side where the glaciers carved out the steep sided fiords and overlapped the coastline. Icebergs would have calved from floating ice cliffs where they meet the surging sea. When the glacial ice began to recede back up the fiords the glaciers left huge terminal moraine deposits, called "sills", at the entrances to the fiords.

    At Milford Sound both the ocean and the fiord depth on either side of the sill is over 300m deep. The top of the sill it is only 27m deep. This effectively prevents ocean swells from entering Milford Sound. There is also evidence that the Milford glaciers have left five old valley floors on the bed of Milford Sound. Left behind also are the sheer cliffs, hanging valleys and spectacular waterfalls for all to see on a memorable Milford Sound sightseeing cruise.

  • New Zealand greenstone was used by Maori to make weapons and ornaments.

    New Zealand Pounamu
    New Zealand Pounamu

    New Zealand greenstone is divided into several different varieties according to colour: INANGA is highly esteemed, its grey green colour resembling that of whitebait; KAHURANGI is a lighter rarer stone; and KAWAKAWA is dark green, like the tree it is named after.

    The greenstone at Milford TANGIWAI is not really greenstone at all as it is not nephrite but brownite. However tangiwai has all the mystique of pounamu and highly prized by Maori. It is softer than nephrite so easier to work. It is a very beautiful stone that ranges in colour from a blue-green to an olive-green. The true splendour of tangiwai is only revealed when it has light behind it that illuminate the white speckles that resemble tear drops in the stone. Tangiwai means, “tear water” in Maori.

    Tama-Ahua was deserted by his three wives, Hine-Kawakawa, Hine-Kahurangi, and Hine-Pounamu. No one knew where they had gone. Tama ranged vainly round the southern coasts. At Piopiotahi he heard a suspicious noise and paddled through the towering walls of the sound. There he found one of his wives turned into a translucent greenstone. He bent over the cold body. The tears ran down his face and onto the hard stone, penetrating it until the tangiwai was flecked with tears and remain to be seen there to this today.
  • As you travel through the fiord on our Milford Sound Scenic Cruises you will view the habitats of some amazing animals and, with a little bit of luck, some of the animals themselves.

    Milford Sound Marine Ecology

    The high rainfall experienced in Fiordland and Milford Sound helps to create a unique marine environment. In this high rainfall zone, rivers streams, waterfalls and rain falling directly on the fiord meet up with the seawater of the fiord.

    Fresh water being less dense forms a 3-5 metres layer of low salinity on the surface of the saltwater. The in flow of fresh water is stained by tannin, humic acid and dissolved organic material picked up from the forest leaf litter. As a result the low salinity layer on the surface is the colour of pale ale or weak tea forming a coloured lens only allowing a dim yellow green light through to a gloomy world below. Light levels at 10m in the fiords are equivalent to those at about 70m in the open sea.

    The fiords constitute a haven for animals that are dark adapted, slow growing and usually associated with deep water. Certain animals found on the continental shelf at depths of 100-200 metres turn up commonly in the fiords in water less than 30m. They include red and white hydrocorals, shrimps, sponges sea pens starfish and orange line perch.

    Dolphins

    You may see three different species of Dolphin on Milford Sound scenic cruises. Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) are the most common dolphin seen. Up to 60 inhabit Milford and Doubtful Sounds and grow up to four metres in length. They are extremely playful animals and often enjoy contact with divers and snorkelers. They are often viewed riding the bow waves of boats and can swim at speeds up to 20-22 knots. If you are lucky a dolphin riding a bow wave will turn on its side to look at those viewing over the bow. Dusky Dolphin (Lagenorhychus obscurus) grow to about two metres in length are sometimes seen at Milford but Hectors Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori), the world rarest dolphin can be seen off the coast but never venture in the fiords.

    Seals

    Once hunted to near extinction, The New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) can now be found along most rocky coastlines in southern New Zealand and can usually be seen on Milford Sound scenic cruises. The NZ Fur Seal will grow up to two metres in length and weigh up to 200kg. During mating season adult males are extremely territorial and aggressive and may not leave the rookery for ten weeks, displacing many of the yearling males. It is thought that many of the seals at Milford are young males.

    Penguins

    Visitors on our Milford Sound scenic cruises have also been able to see two species of penguin which inhabit the fiords, The Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudptyes pachyrhynchus) or Tawaki and The Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor) or Korora. The Fiordland Crested Penguin is only found along the Fiordland coastline, it stands about 45-55cm tall, weighs 3-3.7kgs and is one of the rarest penguins in the world. The head, and upper parts of the body are blue-black with the under parts of the body being white. They are recognised by a sulphur-yellow eyebrow which extends over the eye to the back of the head where it develops into a plume and three to six white stripes on their cheeks. The largest nesting populations occur on Breaksea Island and small adjacent islands. At times of the year they are seen for short periods in Milford Sound.

    Sea Birds

    Sea Birds

    The fiords are breeding habitats for a range of sea birds, some resident, some migratory, e.g. shags (cormorant), sooty shearwater, oyster catchers and gulls.

    Black Coral

    Black Coral

    (Antipathes fiordensis) is endemic to Fiordland and grows at depths as shallow as 5m, but grows especially well at depths of about 15 metres where it crowds the near vertical walls. It forms colonies that in places resemble small to medium-sized trees. Black coral grows less than 20mm a year so trees over five metres tall are estimated to be over 300 years old. Black corals are actually misnamed being neither black nor true coral. Living trees maybe yellow, orange, green or white (as in A. fiordensis). Only dead skeletons are black. True corals are built of calcium carbonate, black coral skeletons, made of protein reinforced with chiton are similar in composition to an insect cuticle.

    Southern Wright Whale

    Southern Right Whale - Tohora
    (Eubalaena australis)

    Southern right whales are typically black in colour but often have irregular white patches around the head and jaw. These white callosities markings are rough growths on the skin that are usually infested with parasitic worms, whale lice and barnacles. The number and arrangement of these are unique to each animal, making it possible to identify individuals. Tohora are circumpolar migratory animals usually ranging between 20°S and 55°S and are a native migrant to New Zealand, particularly around New Zealand’s sun Antarctic islands of Auckland and Campbell Islands where they come during the winter/spring breeding season. At times they are seen around coastal areas of mainland New Zealand.

  • As you travel through the fiord on your Milford Sound nature cruise you will view some of the most beautiful, dramatic and striking native bush and forests in New Zealand.

    Flora & Forests


    Milford Sound Flora

    Forests cover most of Fiordland National Park. The predominant trees are Red Beech (Nothofagus fusca), Silver Beech (Nothofagus menziesii) and Mountain Beech (Nothofagus solandri).

    Podocarp forests are also present at low altitude, in less steep locations with deeper soils, and in particular the western or Tasman Sea side of Fiordland, such as valleys at the head of fiords. The most common of these species are rimu, miro, and Hall's totara which make up the canopy with many shrubs, ferns, tree ferns and epiphytes making up a dense understory.

    This contrasts quite markedly with the relative openness of the understory found in the beech forests, which tend to be almost monotypic. At about 900-1000m the trees give way to hardy squat alpine vegetation and tussocks. 35 species are endemic to Fiordland, most of them above the treeline.

    Tree Avalanches

    On the steeper slopes such as those surrounding Milford Sound, very little soil is found and the vegetation in these areas is held together by a mat of intertwined roots. Occasionally tree avalanches occur when heavy vegetation clinging to the steep and rocky valley walls gives way under the impact of heavy rain. This usually occurs after a prolonged dry spell that has caused the thin soils and rock to crumble and root masses to loosen.

    It takes about 70 years for the forest to regenerate to full maturity making these forests the world fastest regenerating rain forests.

  • As you cruise spectacular Milford Sound the highlight for many people will be the brilliance of the fiords’ waterfalls. Every waterfall is unique, ever changing, some permanent, some temporary. If it has rained within 24hours before your cruise you are guaranteed a most memorable experience.

    Milford Sound Waterfalls

    (Lady) Bowen Falls

    Named after the wife of Sir George Bowen, one of New Zealand’s early governors in the 1870’s. This spectacular waterfall is one of only two permanent falls and drops 160 metres from a classic hanging valley in the Darren Mountain Range.

    Fairy Falls

    One of the few waterfalls to drop straight into the Fiord.

    Bridal Veil Falls

    So named as it resembles a brides veil. This is a semi-permanent waterfall that is most impressive after heavy rain.

    Stirling Falls

    Drops 146 metres from a beautiful U shaped hanging valley carved out between Elephant and Lion Mountains. Stirling Falls is the second largest permanent waterfall in the fiord and is fed by glaciers situated in the mountains behind. Named after Captain Stirling when he brought the HMS Cleo into Milford Sound during the 1870’s.

    Hidden Falls

    Hidden Falls

    During very windy conditions some waterfalls can be completely blown away before the water reaches the sea of the fiord creating a extraordinary sight


    • Cruize Milford - Milford Sound Visitor Centre (Milford Wharf Terminal) and Boat Harbour.
    • Bowen Falls (Lady Bowen Falls) - Named after the wife of Sir George Bowen, one of New Zealand’s early governors in the 1870’s. This spectacular waterfall is one of only two permanent falls and drops 160 metres from a classic hanging valley in the Darren Mountain Range.
    • Sinbad Gully - This classic U-shaped valley formed by the slopes of Mt Phillips, the Llawrenny Peaks, Mitre Peak and Milford’s smallest mountain, the Footstool, is where the once thought extinct Kakapo bird was rediscovered.
    • Mitre Peak - One of the tallest mountains in the world to rise directly from the sea floor. Rising to a height of 1692 metres, Mitre Peak forms one of the most dominant and photographed landmarks of Milford Sound. So named due to the top 450 metres closely resembling the shape of a Bishop’s headpiece.
    • Copper Point - Named for the presence of copper in the rock. At 620 metres wide it is Milford’s narrowest and windiest point. By the afternoon on sunny days, the warming air inside the fiord rises and is replaced by cooler air drawn from the Tasman Sea which can gust up to 100 knots through this point. The breeze then dies away again in the evening.
    • Fairy Falls - One of the few waterfalls to drop straight into the fiord.
    • Bridal Veil Falls - So named as it resembles a brides veil. This is a semi-permanent waterfall that is most impressive after heavy rain.
    • Dale Point - Marks the northern entrance into Milford Sound. Beyond this point is the Tasman Sea, from where it is almost impossible to see Milford Sound. This is why it was missed by Captain Cook and many other vessels for so long.
    • Seal Rock - The New Zealand Fur Seal inhabits Milford Sound all year round. This rock is one of the few points that these seals are able to climb out of the water and are almost always present here.
    • Stirling Falls - Drops 146 metres from a beautiful U-shaped hanging valley carved out between Elephant and Lion Mountains. Stirling Falls is the second largest permanent waterfall in the fiord and is fed by glaciers situated in the mountains behind. Named after Captain Stirling when he brought the HMS Cleo into Milford Sound during the 1870’s.
    • Mt Kimberley - This rock formation also known as Lion Mountain, rises to a height of 1302 metres. Aptly named as it resembles a crouching lion.
    • Harrison's Cove - The only natural and most importantly, sheltered, anchorage in Milford Sound and home to Milford Underwater Observatory. The Underwater Observatory is a great stop for those interested in seeing the unique aquatic conditions and marine life of Milford Sound and Black Coral growing at 9 metres below the surface.
    • Mt Pembroke - The Pembroke glacier is over 1 million years old and sits on the tallest mountain to look down to the fiord at just over 2000 metres high. It was once one of the great glaciers over successive glacial advances that carved out Milford Sound.
    • Cascade Range - During heavy rain this mountain range comes alive with waterfalls.
    • Milford Airport - On a sunny day the Milford Air Strip becomes a very busy airport providing sightseeing flights between Milford, Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau.