Cruise Milford Sound and view stunning glaciated mountains, snow-tipped peaks that loom overhead and powerful waterfalls that tumble hundreds of metres down into the fijord. Cruise past rugged cliffs that are covered in magnificent ancient rain forests and keep a look out for the seals, dolphins, and penguins swimming in the waters below. Relax and unwind with lunch also included on board your cruise.
If the thought of visiting Milford Sound entices you, but the idea of hopping on-board a plane does not, you can take a bus instead. Taking a bus from Queenstown to Milford Sound is not only convenient, it is an affordable option for those wanting to visit New Zealand’s most outstanding area of natural beauty. As one of the finest Alpine drives in the world, it also offers many of the scenic benefits those who choose to fly enjoy. This means you don’t miss out on any of the route’s beauty, yet you still benefit from better prices.
Board your luxury coach in Queenstown and prepare yourself for a visual extravaganza as you travel towards Milford Sound. You will marvel at the famous Remarkables mountain range as you head towards Te Anau, a pretty town which sits on the edge of the largest lake in the South Island (the second largest in New Zealand); Lake Te Anau. You will stop at this picturesque township for morning tea. Te Anau sits on the border of the Fiordland Park and will provide you with a spectacular vista of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison mountains.
The next step of your journey along the Milford Road takes you through Fiordland National Park. The scenery simply takes your breath away. The glass-roofed coach brings the outside in making you feel part of the environment from your warm snug seat. Just a few of the jaw dropping spectacles include the Mirror Lakes which reflect the Earl Mountains and Monkey Creek where you can drink the pure natural water straight from the stream. Your coach will take you through the Homer Tunnel which stretches for 1270 metres through solid granite. Construction started in 1935 and was finally opened in 1954. It is an engineering triumph. You will also have the opportunity to look at The Chasm, an impressive hole which has been sculpted by a series of waterfalls over the centuries.
Your Queenstown to Milford Sound Bus Route
The scenery you take in as your luxury coach moves from Te Anau to Milford Sound is spectacular. For much of the journey, you will be able to observe the nature that moves amongst broad grass flats. As you draw closer towards Milford Sound itself, the rain forests will become denser and more vibrant. Naturally, rainforests produce an increasingly beautiful range of creatures, which makes your bus journey the perfect opportunity to take photos worth sharing. Finally, as you get to Milford Sound, mountains and glaciers will fall into place.
It is rare that any bus journey can produce such a broad range of landscapes. When you take a bus from Queenstown to Milford Sound, you benefit from large windows and luxury seating. This ensures you enjoy the scenery, as you would expect to when moving through an area of natural beauty.
Exploring Milford Sound When You Arrive
After enjoying a scenic bus journey, you have the chance to explore Milford Sound. One of the most popular, and common, ways to do this is to take a day cruise on Milford Sound. Cruises take you around the areas many breathtaking features, including:
- Mitre Peak: Which rises one kilometer high out of the sea and sometimes towers into the clouds
- Waterfalls that cascade directly from the rainforests into the waters you will cruise on
- Adorable marine life, including seals, penguins, and dolphins, which are very active at Milford Sound
- The Stirling Falls, which were named after an explorer who visited Milford Sound in 1888. They have the capacity to create mesmerizing ripples across the water in front of them
An area of outstanding beauty, Milford Sound’s aesthetic qualities change as the course of nature does. When the weather is particularly windy, your cruise will give you the chance to observe waterfalls that appear to move in the opposite direction. If you are able to visit Milford Sound after a particularly long dry spell, the cliffs and rocks somehow appear more foreboding, which is due to a lack of water flowing down them.
Preparing for Your Coach Journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound
Overall, your coach journey and cruise will take around 10 hours. Approximately one-hour and 45-minutes of this time is spent on the cruise. As such, you need to prepare for a long coach journey. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing for the drive back if you choose an afternoon coach departure, as the temperature can drop a little. In addition, you should bring some snacks, and entertainment for any young children that will be traveling with you.
As one of the wettest places in the world, Milford Sound isn’t the type of destination that works well with certain types of clothing. Try to keep your clothes light wherever possible, and don’t disregard using a waterproof jacket. Being well prepared will help you make the most of both your coach journey and Milford Sound cruise. Milford Sound weather changes frequently, so be prepared!
Queenstown to Milford Sound Tour Includes…
- Return transport from Queenstown
- Luxury glass roof coach with no more than 36 people & lots of leg room*
- Boutique boat cruise in the Milford Sound
- Free selected hotel/motel pickups
- Free multilingual headsets available in Mandarin, Japanese & Spanish
- Full commentary in English
- Lots of stops and photo opportunities
- Expert local guides on both the coach and cruise boat
- Free tea, coffee & water on the cruise boat
- Bring your own lunch or included picnic lunch options available
- Free use of umbrellas
Tour departs Queenstown 6.45am all year round (a second departure is available at 9.00am from 1 November -30 April)