natural attractions Milford Sound Cruise© Cecilia Lindqvist
natural attractions Milford Sound Cruise

11 Amazing Natural Attractions on a Milford Sound Cruise

© Cecilia Lindqvist
Article Single Pages©
Article Single Pages©
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What Will You See on a Milford Sound Cruise?

Drift through one of the stupidly scenic locations, which is almost always on top of travellers’ New Zealand bucket lists. A Milford Sound cruise is a quick and inexpensive way to see the famous fiord of New Zealand. (Yes, that’s right, Milford Sound is not even a sound, but a fiord). Even the drive, which is the only route from Te Anau all the way to this glacier-carved Milford Sound, encapsulates a variety of stunning scenery on what is known as the Milford Road, which you can either self-drive or take as a day trip bus tour, like the ones listed in 15 Best Milford Sound Tours from Queenstown & Te Anau. See the full scale of that journey in The Guide to Milford Sound and the Milford Road.

So instead of just looking at an onslaught of “pretty”, get to know what exactly is what in the list of Milford Sound natural attractions below!

How to Book a Cruise of Milford Sound

Booking a cruise to Milford Sound might not be as exhilarating as the journey itself, but we’re here to make it easier. Begin your adventure by researching reputable cruise operators online or through travel agencies. Choose a cruise that aligns with your preferences, whether it’s a leisurely day trip or an immersive overnight experience. Ensure to book well in advance, especially during peak season, to secure your spot and avoid disappointment. Once booked, anticipate a voyage filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and encounters with local wildlife. Embark on a voyage to Milford Sound and let its natural beauty captivate your senses.

For a full cruise comparison, check out the 10 Best Cruises in Milford Sound. Otherwise, check out these natural attractions seen on a Milford Sound cruise!

Onto Our Natural Attractions in Milford Sound…

1. Sinbad Gully

Nestled between Mt Philips, Llawrenny Peaks, Mitre Peak and Footstall, Sinbad Gully is a wildlife sanctuary. In fact, this is where the rare kakapo bird was found after it was thought to be extinct for almost a hundred years. The valley is completely isolated from the mainland which makes it a perfect environment to reintroduce native species away from predators such as possums.

“What’s wrong with possums?” We hear you ask. Check out Why New Zealand Hates Possums.

natural attractions Milford Sound Cruise© Szilas on Wikipedia

2. Mitre Peak

Mitre Peak is one of the world’s tallest mountains to emerge from the sea. Rising at almost 1,700 m (5,577 ft) high, Mitre Peak is an iconic landmark of Milford Sound and probably the most photographed mountain in the country. Imposing and unmistakable, it just can’t be missed!

natural attractions Milford Sound Cruise© Maxpixel

3. Copper Point

The narrow Copper Point is by far the windiest in the sound with gusts passing 100 knots! A long time ago when New Zealand was explored by new migrants, the point was found to be rich in copper and piqued the interest of many minors hence its name.

natural attractions Milford Sound Cruise© Tourism NZ

4. Fairy Falls and Bridal Veil Falls

The two waterfalls are at their best during or shortly after some heavy rainfall. While Fairy Falls drops straight into the sea, Bridal Veil Falls covers a huge part of the rock to create this veil effect and amaze those who were brave enough to take a cruise in the rain. Don’t worry, the crew hands out rain poncho if needed!

Check out more waterfalls in our 20 Most Wonderful Waterfalls in New Zealand!

 Jocelyn Kinghorn on Flickr© Jocelyn Kinghorn on Flickr

5. Anita Bay

This is most likely the furthest point you will be going from Milford Sound wharf and out to sea. Anita Bay is a peaceful bay that serves as a merger between Milford Sound and the Tasman Sea. As it is greatly exposed to the elements, most cruises will not venture there during rough weather. Not that the boat can’t handle it, but you know… A hundred people seasick at the same time: that’s no fun for the crew.

Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia© Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

6. Dolphin Pods

With a bit of luck, your cruise will be visited by curious bottlenose dolphins that will either race your boat or endeavour to get some “aaahs” and “ooohs” out of you by performing tricks. The local dolphin pod is extremely playful and fast, so be camera-ready!

Can’t get enough of those dolphins? Check out the 5 Best Places to Swim With Dolphins in New Zealand.©

7. Dale Point

Dale Point is the sole reason why Milford Sound took so long to discover. The point hides the entrance of the fiord making it almost impossible to see Milford Sound. Thanks to Dale Point, Milford Sound was missed by many expeditions even led by Captain Cook himself.

More useful facts can be found in The Guide to Milford Sound and the Milford Road.

Pexels© Pexels

8. Seal Rock

New Zealand fur seals are fun and playful, or at least some of them are. Others like to nap a lot. While seals are present all over Milford Sound, a safe bet to find them, see them, and photograph them is on the aptly named Seal Rock where seals can be found sleeping in the same place all year round.

Spot seals in these locations too: 10 Best Places to See Seals in New Zealand.©

9. Stirling Falls

The glacier-fed Stirling Falls stand tall at almost 150 m (492 ft) high. Your cruise will take you as close as you can get to it by manoeuvring its bow right under the falls! This is probably the most beautiful waterfall in the sound and truly an iconic picture for anyone who stops by.©

10. Harrison’s Cove

Harrison’s Cove is a well-sheltered cove where most kayaking trips are done. Away from current and wind, it makes it a peaceful experience in this majestic place. You will also find the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory in Harrison’s Cove, only accessible with Southern Discoveries, allowing visitors to get below sea level and witness the thriving marine wildlife under the surface including the rare black coral.

11 Stunning Sights Seen From a Milford Sound Cruise©

11. Cascade Range

The Cascade Mountain Range is seen to its full potential after a rainfall where the entire mountainside is covered with an array of small waterfalls dripping from every nook and cranny a stunning sight before heading back to the land! If you have good weather, you can always count on the 160 m (524 ft) Bowen Falls to amaze you one last time.

11 Stunning Sights Seen From a Milford Sound Cruise© Eve Thomas - Destination Fiordland

Start Researching the Best Milford Sound Cruise for You

Now that you know the amazing natural attractions seen on a Milford Sound cruise, you’re ready to book a cruise through this stunning destination. For a comprehensive guide to the top cruises in Milford Sound, look no further than our 10 Best Cruises in Milford Sound! This curated list offers insights into each cruise’s highlights, amenities and unique offerings, helping you make an informed decision for an unforgettable experience amidst the majestic landscapes of Milford Sound. Embark on a voyage of discovery and let Milford Sound’s beauty leave an indelible mark on your soul.

More About Milford Sound

That’s it for our guide to the natural attractions seen on a Milford Sound cruise. For more on the subject, take a look a the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to Milford Sound.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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