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  • Go Orange Cruise Milford Sound - Above the Beyond Go Orange Cruise Milford Sound - Above the Beyond
    Fiordland Operator of the year

Milford Sound Cruise

In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions you ask about our experiences. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? That is the question.

You will find Milford and Doubtful Sound deep down in the South Island of New Zealand. They are different, but equally beautiful. Milford Sound is around 13kms long and famous for its dramatic mountain peaks and waterfalls. Home to Mitre Peak, it's easy to see why people flock here.

Doubtful Sound is three times longer than Milford Sound, home to three arms named Hall, Crooked and First arm. Commonly known as the sound of silence and famous for Wildlife sightings, Doubtful is a real adventure experience.

Our travellers with enough time choose to experience both fiords.

I want to cruise Milford Sound but depart Queenstown and return to Te Anau, is this possible?

We operate round trip combined 'Coach + Cruise' excursions departing Te Anau & Queenstown.  However if you want to depart Queenstown and return to Te Anau (or depart Te Anau and return to Queenstown), then please contact us directly info@GoOrange.nz as these trips are NOT bookable on the Go Orange website.

How long does it take to get to Milford Sound?

Driving to Milford Sound from Queenstown will take around 5 hours. Te Anau to Milford Sound is a 2 and ½ hours drive. We have added a little extra time to allow for photo stops and short walks. Make sure you fill up your tank at Te Anau as there are no petrol stations in the national park.

For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.

What are the road conditions to Milford like in the winter?

Driving conditions during winter (May to September) can be difficult.  Extreme care is needed as freezing temperatures mean the road can ice over in shaded places.  During the winter it is mandatory to carry snow chains in your vehicle as the road can sometimes be covered in snow.  These are available for hire from petrol stations in Te Anau and Queenstown.

If you are not confident about driving in winter conditions then take a Go Orange Coach + Cruise to Milford Sound and relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

At Milford where do you park and go to check in?

When self-driving to Milford Sound you should allow at least two hours drive time between Te Anau and Milford Sound, you will need to allow an hour at the terminal to park, pay, transfer to the terminal and check-in.

Parking in the main Milford Sound car park is $10/hr. This is a barrier-less license plate recognition system. Make your way to a pay machine, enter your license plate and follow the instructions on the screen.  Parking attendants are on hand all summer to help should you need assistance.

The car park machines accept most credit or debit cards. If you are cruising in Milford Sound you will need to purchase at least 3-4 hours of parking. FREE car parking is available at Deepwater Basin on a first-come-first-served basis – with a free Park ‘n’ Ride shuttle bus service every 20 mins from the free carpark to the Milford Sound Terminal.

More information can be found here Milford Sound Tourism website.

What do we do when we get to Milford Sound?

You should allow 45 minutes to park up and check in to the Milford Sound Terminal. You are required to check in 20 minutes before you cruise.

Will you pick us up from our accommodation?

Of course. If you have booked a Coach + Cruise package with us, then our coaches can pick up from most accommodation in Queenstown and Te Anau. Just let us know where you want to be picked up from or make your way to one of our Visitor Centres.

What is the weather like in Fiordland?

They say you can never have a bad weather day in Fiordland. If the sun is shining, you're in for a treat, if it's raining, then get ready to be blown away by all the extra waterfalls on show.

The rainfall is what makes Fiordland National Park so unique and visitors should be prepared for some rain during their visit, after all it rains 200 days of the year.

Temperatures can vary and here is roughly what you can expect in all four seasons.

Summer (December-February) 19-23 Celsius / 66 - 73 Fahrenheit 

Autumn (March-May) 8-18 Celsius / 46 - 64 Fahrenheit

Winter (June-August) 5-9 Celsius / 41 - 48 Fahrenheit

Spring (September-November) 10-19 Celsius / 50 - 66 Fahrenheit

Can we purchase food on the boat?

You sure can. We take cash only, so please grab your cash in Te Anau before you get into Fiordland National Park.  We have a great new menu on board with food from some of our favourite Queenstown eateries. We also have salads, Fish and Chips, Chia pots, Vegetable Curry and more. 

Can we use the top deck?

The whole boat is yours to explore. The first floor is where you will find the bar and restaurant style seating. The second floor boasts comfy booth seats that face outwards so you can enjoy the views. The top deck has a communal wooden bench seat running the length of the deck.

Can we pay by credit card?

Unfortunately not. We are running a cash only bar right now, please bring cash if you wish to purchase food and drink on board.

Will there Vegetarian / Vegan option available on board?

We have catered for all. Vegan and Vegetarian options will be available on all cruises. We also have a great range of snacks and plant-based smoothies for you to try.

What if it starts to rain during our cruise?

Then head inside and settle into our comfy booth seats. We have hot drinks available and windows all around the boat, so you won’t miss out on those epic views.

How long do we cruise for?

The Milford Sound Cruise is two hours long. Departing the terminal and returning two hours later. We will cruise up the left-hand side of Milford Sound and back down the right. Visiting Seal rocks, the Tasman Sea and the famous Stirling Falls where you can get yourself a free glacial water shower.

Do you have staff on board?

We have the best team on board! Order at the bar and they will hand deliver your food and drink. Make sure you ask them about all things Milford Sound and living down in this beautiful corner of the world. You can also hop up front in the cabin with our skipper and spin a few yarns, he has stories to tell!

Can we purchase the artwork on board?

We will have a selection of prints to purchase on board. We were lucky enough to work with some awesome local artists and were proud to showcase their work. In the New Year we will also have a great range of Go Orange merchandise available so keep your eyes peeled for the Orange bottles and takeaway cups on display at the back of the boat.

Where is the beer brewed?

Canyon Brewery in Queenstown kindly brewed us an exclusive XPA. This beer is only available on the Haven so make sure you grab a pint and enjoy.

Can we get off the boat?

Unless you fancy an icy dip in the Tasman sea, we highly recommend you keep all body parts on the boat at all times. The Milford haven will cruise for 2 hours before returning back to the Milford Terminal and dry land.

Can we visit Lady Bowen falls?

Yes! The track has been closed since 2006 but now open to the public. If you speak to the harbour master, pay $10 you can jump in a small boat and explore the waterfall. To return just stand at the dock and the harbour master will come over to get you.

What are the chances of seeing Wildlife?

The awesome thing about the wildlife in Fiordland National Park is that it is wild. We cannot guarantee you a wildlife sighting, however we have a pod of dolphins residing in Doubtful Sound so, you may witness these incredible mammals swimming in our bow waves. Seals are also sighted regularly, taking residence upon a collection of rocks in Milford Sound & if you're super lucky then the Fiordland Crested Penguins can sometimes make an appearance.

Let us explain the difference between a sound & a fiord.

A fiord is a valley created from Glacial movement. Typically, narrow and steep sided, flooded by the sea after glacial retreat. A sound is a river valley that has been flooded by the sea, from and movement or rising sea levels

Throughout Fiordland our fiords are officially mapped as Sounds, however we should call them fiords. Milford Sound has a better ring to it though, right?

What if it’s raining in Milford or Doubtful? Should we still go?

The answer is yes. You will experience the real Milford Sound in the rain. The rockfaces stream with waterfalls and dramatic mists hang around in the valleys hugging the mountain tops. From the comfort of our brand-new glass roof coach & Milford Haven boat, you can appreciate the epic surrounds.

If we have booked the coach cruise coach package where do, we get picked up from?

If you are exiting Queenstown, then head down to the Cardrona street store at 37 Camp Street in Queenstown, here you will meet the driver and jump on the bus. If you would like accommodation pick-up, please state this with your booking and wait outside in the designated bus stop before your departure. If you are exiting Te Anau then head to Kiwi Country Town Centre, Te Anau, our driver will meet you there. We also offer accommodation pick-ups along the way so let our team know should you need a pick up.

Can I charge my phone on the bus?

Our brand new Orange buses have USB charging points next to each seat, we also have on board WIFI so you can start uploading to the gram as soon as we hit reception again.

Is there food available on the bus?

We do not provide food or beverages on the bus. We will stop along the way for short walks and toilet breaks. We will also stop at a café, but please feel free to bring your own snack for the bus.

How long does it take to get to Milford Sound on our coach?

We allow plenty of time for short walks and photo opportunities so from Queenstown around five hours. If you are leaving from Te Anau it will take two and a half hours.

Will the driver talk to us?

Of course, our drivers are pretty epic and will have plenty of yarns to spin on route.

Can we reserve the front seat?

Yes, it is an option to reserve a seat within the front 2 rows of seats on our Milford Sound Coach + Cruise.  The option will come up during the booking process online.

Will we stop to take photos?

Yes! And now with the added bonus of our glass roof coach you can see the wonders of Fiordland National Park from the comfort of your seat.

Will we see any wildlife from the coach?

Our drivers normally send a quick email to the Kea in a morning to let them know we are coming so they normally hang out around the Homer Tunnel. Your driver will point any wildlife out if we see them.

Will the driver wait for us or do we get a different bus home?

You will return on the same bus you arrived on. You may be allowed to leave items on the bus but always check with the driver.

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