Milford Sound is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Situated in the middle of Fiordland, it’s beautiful glacier shaped mountains along an ocean inlet make it a picture perfect setting.

Milford Sound

We were quite surprised by how small the town was. Initially planning to camp just outside the town at a beautiful DOC campsite at Lake Gunn, with much of the day still available, we decided to take a quick drive into town to get familiar with where to meet our cruise the next day and maybe find some Wifi.

Expecting the drive to take maybe 20mins, an hour later we were finally pulling into town. A heavy avalanche area, the roads were slow and we were hit with a ~10min delay to go through a mountain drilled tunnel as an avalanche took out part of the road just a week or so ago.

Steep rocky mountains with waterfalls flowing just above the homer tunnel 

With just a small café and a lodge in sight, we opted to stay at the lodge for the evening, saving ourselves the hour drive back that night and in the morning. Since it was pouring rain we were happy to be at the cozy lodge curled up on some couches in the lounge. We even scored some cheap beer as they had Tui (a local India Pale Ale) on sale for 2 for 1 for only $5.50! I enjoyed a couple of those while watching a few movies, while Jordan continued video/photo editing.

Milford Sound Lodge nestled in the mountains

Up early for the 9:45am Southern Discoveries Nature Cruise, we boarded the Lady Bowen for a 2.5hr nature tour of Milford Sound. Despite the thick fog and rain, it was still a beautiful ride as the fog created a bit of mystery as we sailed into the abyss.

Lady Bowen Nature Cruise Ship 
Sailing into the abyss 

The powerful Bowen falls blasted fresh glacier water down the mountain and into the sea creating a beautiful waterfall – one of only two permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound. On rainy days though there are hundreds of waterfalls pouring down the mountains due to the significant amount of rainfall Fiordland receives.

Powerful Bowen falls blasting fresh glacier water 

A pod of bottle nose dolphins even swam with the boat, jumping out in front of the bow as we enjoyed the cruise. We even spotted a couple Fiordland crested penguins along the shore that came out to say hello – a lucky sighting we were told by our Nature Cruise narrator Mike! On our way back through the sound, we spotted a number of young fur seals bathing on the rocks, completing the ‘triple threat’ – dolphins, penguins and seals – which was a real treat!

Triple Threat – Dolphins, Penguins (hard to see I know) and Seals 

Since it was a small cruise ship, we were able to get quite close to the waterfalls – close enough to soak anyone on the front deck! Luckily they supplied some orange rain coats and even served up fresh glacier water from glasses once they were full from the waterfall’s splash.

Up close and personal with the waterfalls 
Magnificent waterfalls in the mist of the low fog 

It was amazing the number of waterfalls pouring down the mountains – too many to count! With the fog, it looked like they were pouring out of the clouds as you couldn’t see the top of most of the mountains.

Countless waterfalls pouring from the mountains into the sea 

Despite the rain and fog, it was a very lovely morning and I look forward to coming back in the summer with kayaks to get an even closer, more intimate look!

Jordan and I enjoying the lovely cruise 


Check out Episode 32 – Milford Sound