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Kayaking Milford Sound

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Milford Sound is a top destination and one of the most popular spots to visit if you are planning a trip to the south island in New Zealand. I've been there twice, once in winter, and most recently their summer. The reviews on this place sets your expectations high to be blown away. But don't take them too seriously--it's a protected land that can only be visited by boat (either your own, or a tour), and after awhile on just a boat ride, it all starts to look the same. Which is why the best way to actually see and experience Milford Sound, is to actually be in it!

My first visit here felt kinda lackluster--it was freezing, on and off with rain, and I basically just sat inside on the boat the entire time looking at waterfalls that after awhile, I couldn't differentiate. This time I felt I needed to really immerse myself in the sound to get more from it and to see if I missed what all the hype is on this 8th wonder of the world. So I booked a day cruise that offered kayaking, and a stop at the Marine Center here. You can do this in advance, or right at the tourist center in Milford Sound. Board the boat, and you are ready to go.

Middle of summer still can be a bit cold for this. The high was 65, but it is really windy there so dress for windy/wet weather as it does tend to rain anytime of year. I lucked out with a perfect sunny summer day!

Seeing the sound this up close and personal was way better than before! You are assigned a guide and are typically in a group of 8, but not much more. The guide takes you to some really beautiful areas of the Fiords, and you are free to roam around in each at your own pace. The water is so clear and clean here you can actually drink it. Filling water bottles is encouraged!

The mountain backdrops are beautiful and the water is really calm.You can spot some wildlife if you can get close enough to not scare them. For the most part, just kick back, paddle a bit and enjoy yourself on the water in complete serene beauty.

Kayaking is one of the best ways to see and experience Milford Sound. I personally love to kayak, but even if you never have or are apprehensive, the calm waters and gorgeous scenery make this an ideal first time!

Additional info on Milford Sound and other excursions you can book, check here. One thing to note, it's close to a 4 hour drive to get here from Queenstown. As most of the excursions start early so you can make the most of your day, I recommend planning a few days to either stay at Milford Sound, or the next closest town which is Te Anau. Would love to hear other favorite places to kayak, so feel free to comment or message me!

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