A cruise through Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford-Sound

Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” I have to agree. If you are visiting New Zealand’s South Island, you absolutely must make time for a cruise through one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited. It’s a journey in itself to get there, but one that is well worth the effort, and one that will leave you with beautiful memories to last a lifetime.

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Milford Sound, New Zealand

Starting from Queenstown early in the morning, I hopped on the bus only somewhat prepared for the long, 4 hour ride. I was tired and more than a little disappointed it was raining. Shortly after we started our journey on SH94, one of the most scenic highways in all of New Zealand, I promptly fell asleep. After a short nap I woke up to find myself in Fiordland National Park. Fiordland is the local name for the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, a World Heritage Site containing 13 fjords and covering 4,800 square miles. Although all of New Zealand is beautiful, driving through the Park is an experience that will awaken all of your senses. Lush green, moss covered forest and crystal clear turquoise waters blanket the landscape and cause oohs and aahs around every turn. We stopped along the way to explore a few picturesque locations, including Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Monkey Creek and The Chasm, making the journey almost as enjoyable and mind-blowing as the destination.

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Tiny ship entering the grand Milford Sound

Finally we arrived at the terminal and I caught my first glimpse of Milford Sound while waiting to board the cruise. Rocky cliffs towered high above inky waters and seemed to swallow the oncoming ships into its misty depths. It was a scene from a far away land that only existed in movies or fairy tales. I had never seen anything more beautiful. My excitement was at an all time high as I boarded this ship that would take me deeper into this fairy tale land.

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Misty cliffs of Milford Sound

The hour and a half cruise was a breathtaking journey filled with cool, misty air and the smell of nature unspoilt. Around every corner we encountered vibrant green trees clinging to the steep, rocky cliffs that climbed high into the sky.

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Lush green trees clinging to the cliffs of Milford Sound

Every now and then a waterfall would come into view and I thought this must be the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. But I was wrong. Every next sight was better than the last. And the mist from the rain just added to the mystery and illusion of this magical place. I regretted my earlier grouchiness and thanked my lucky stars that it was raining.

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The waterfalls seemed alive in Milford Sound

Before making the journey, I had seen countless photos of this stunning place. Every photo I saw made me want to come and experience it even more. But truth be told, after visiting, every photo now pales in comparison to the actual experience of standing on the top deck of the ship, mist swirling around me, trying to hide my camera from the rain but not even really caring about the photos because in the end I was blown away by the beauty of this surreal place. A place that cannot be captured by a photo – although I tried, believe me, I tried. It’s a place that has to be experienced to fully understand. A visit will have a lasting impact on you forever. It’s just one of the many reasons I fell in love with New Zealand.

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34 thoughts on “A cruise through Milford Sound, New Zealand

    1. Thanks Janine! I’m so jealous you’re heading to NZ in January. Please give it my love! I need to get back there! Have a fabulous trip!

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  1. Although I haven’t been to NZ yet, my parents have been Caravan-ing through the country twice and have similar views about Milford Sound. I’ve seen it in all its glory via their photos and their thoughts resonate with yours. NZ truly is an amazingly beautiful country that I hope to visit soon. Cheers

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  2. Hi, although I haven’t been to NZ yet, my parent’s have done two caravan trips there and as a result I am well aware of Milford Sound and it’s incredible beauty. Have seen it in all its glory via their photos and their thoughts resonate with that of yours in the post. NZ is such an amazingly beautiful part of the world and I can’t wait to visit it some day soon. Thanks

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  3. Wow! This looks magical. I have been told that when I go to NZ, I have to visit the South Island and now I can’t wait! How much did you pay for the cruise? Them photos are absolutely stunning!

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  4. You have such gorgeous photos of New Zealand! It’s been on my bucket list for SO long and I’m definitely going to have to make it there soon. I never thought of doing a cruise while there, so I’m glad you did an entire post on it. It looks absolutely beautiful and it’s something I won’t want to miss while there!

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    1. Thanks so much! I do hope you make it there soon. It’s an absolutely stunning country with so much to offer. I went for a few days, then a couple of weeks, but it still was not enough time. I need to go back!

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  5. I love Milford Sound, probably the most beautiful place in New Zealand. We were disappointed on the day of our cruise it was raining but then as we got to Milford we realised the rain meant we could see all the waterfalls that usually dry up during the sunny days! Such an incredible place to be. I can’t wait to go back. Also want to do Doubtful Sound too.

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    1. I agree. I think the rain and mist added to the experience. I loved it. And yes, next time I go back I’m hitting up Doubtful Sound. I hear it’s just as stunning!

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    1. New Zealand is my favourite country in the world. I’ve been twice and still want to back and see more. I hope your dream comes true to visit. It’s breathtaking.

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  6. Aww this is so beautiful!!! I’ve heard so many great things about the Milford Sound cruise and it just looks amazing!! I’ll have to check it out if I ever make it to NZ! Can’t wait to see what you share tomorrow on FlyAwayFriday!

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  7. I’ve been there twice now, staying overnight each time, and it’s been raining pretty much constantly. Those blue skies must be photoshopped in, I’m sure.

    I remember my second visit. A few days earlier we’d been in Wellington and a cruise ship was in, one of those supermassive modern vessels. It looked like a new skyscraper had docked. Absolutely dominated the city.

    In Milford Sound, it was there as well. Looked like a toy fishing boat amongst the majesty.

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