Fiordland Discovery Overnight cruise in Milford sound, new zealand

The fiordland jewel is the best way to see milford sound

When I was doing research for our trip to New Zealand, the Milford Sound part of it left me feeling a little confused. I knew there was NO way we would miss Milford on this trip … but I also knew I didn’t want to do it as an out and back drive from Te Anau or Queenstown. I’m the kind of person who likes spending time in places soaking it all in, not just checking things off a checklist. Doing the round trip drive sounded like a long, exhausting day in which we wouldn’t actually get to spend much time in Milford itself, which definitely wasn’t what I wanted. I briefly considered splurging on a night in the Milford Sound Lodge … and then I learned about Fiordland Discovery’s overnight cruise.

The Fiordland Discovery overnight cruise was far and away the biggest splurge of our two weeks in New Zealand. And it was worth every penny. If you are debating whether or not to do this because of the cost, pour yourself a glass of wine (to take the edge off, obviously) and just book it. I can’t recommend this experience highly enough

I mean, just LOOK at these pictures taken from the boat!

All aboard the fiordland jewel!

My husband, 11 year old son, and I stayed in the quad bunk cabin. The room was small (which was fine because we really were only in there to sleep anyway) but very clean with a window that looked out onto the Sound. After boarding the boat were greeted with a welcome snack (gimme all those olives!!), introduction to the crew, and the itinerary for the evening. The plan was to cruise out towards the Tasman Sea (we were lucky that we were actually able to go INTO the sea for a bit) and then over to the spot where we would be moored for the night.

From there we had the chance to do some kayaking (yes, obviously we wanted to kayak!) and swim in the sound if we wanted! After that we were treated to a DELICIOUS dinner (the best meal of our time in New Zealand) and a short film about Milford Sound. We ended the evening with a dip in the hot tub in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Our visit to Milford Sound came just over halfway through our trip to New Zealand. It was the thing that I scheduled farthest in advance and pretty much planned our whole trip around. To say we were looking forward to it would be a MASSIVE understatement.

The next morning we had a delicious breakfast and took another cruise out in the Sound. We were really lucky in that we got a taste of both sunny, warm weather (in the evening) and moody, cloudy vibes (in the morning). We saw a family of fur seals snoozing away on a rock and got to watch the clouds roll over the mountains and it was just perfect!

Views from the boat

(Fujifilm XT4 + FujiXF 16-55 f/2.8)

Life on the boat

(Low key iphone photos – don’t judge my skill as a photographer from these! Hey, I was on vacation! haha!)

Some final thoughts

  • This was all of our favorite experiences in New Zealand! It was a splurge but it was so, SO worth it!
  • This was an awesome activity for a family. Our 11 year old loved every single minute of it and the crew made him feel super welcome. I can see this being an AWESOME thing to do with a multigenerational family too!
  • Have I mentioned how wonderful the crew was? We loved them all!
  • Just do this!!!

Is the Fiordland discovery overnight cruise on milford sound worth it?

YES YES YES! A thousand times YES!!! While this was the most expensive thing we did on our trip to New Zealand (and probably the bougiest thing we’ve done on any trip we’ve been on), it was worth every penny. And when you consider that you got TWO cruises out into the sound, two delicious gourmet meals, a chance to go kayaking and swimming, comfortable lodging, and time aboard a beautiful boat, it actually doesn’t seem that expensive.

Save up for this one. It’s worth it!!!

Best way to book the milford sound overnight cruise on the fiordland discovery