What can I say about New Zealand that I haven’t already said before? We all know it is absolutely stunning. Everywhere you turn feels like you’re watching a scene from Lord of the Rings or you’ve stepped foot into Jurassic Park. Nowhere is quite so wild and pristine as New Zealand. And within New Zealand, nowhere beats Milford Sound. and nothing be a Milford overnight cruise.New Zealand certainly packs a punch with everything it has to offer for
For a small place in the corner of the offer.
Majestic Southern Alps form the backbone of the country. Beautifully braided rivers that weave their way to the ocean through untouched valleys. Otherworldly clay cliffs that make you feel like you could be on Mars. Glaciers from 14,000 years ago. And dramatic fjords surrounded by lush subtropical rainforests. New Zealand sure boasts a lot of beauty.
When I think of New Zealand’s clean green image, there is one place that stands out. Rudyard Kipling described it as the 8th wonder of the world: Milford Sound! A spectacular place in any weather, Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions and a place I never tire of returning to with RealNZ.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Milford Sound after dark will blow your mind!
Tucked away in a remote part of New Zealand’s rugged west coast, hours away from the nearest town, Milford Sound boasts thunderous waterfalls and jagged plunging cliffs. The fiord is teaming with wildlife – the cheeky kea, as well as bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguins all, find their home in this mystical part of NZ.
Milford Sound is a must-do for any visitor in this part of the world. And now that our borders are shut, it’s never been a better time to explore popular Fiordland than now. Attention kiwis. Get your butts down to Milford Sound now. You’ll never get another chance to experience it so quiet and peaceful.
There are many ways you can get to Milford. Flying, busing, walking, helicoptering, driving, and even boating. I’ve pretty much done them all, even driving down in a convertible Aston Martin. Yeow! But without a doubt, my very best Milford experiences weren’t just a day trip, rather staying the night, offline and deep in the heart of Fiordland.
Here’s how doing an overnight cruise in the Milford Sound can change your life. Spoiler alert – The trips are priced as low as they ever have been!
1. You’ve got Milford all to yourself
Have you ever been to a popular tourist attraction where you’ve had to wait behind crowds of people to get that shot for your gram? We all know how frustrating it can get. Everyone around you is trying to get the same photo, and before you know it, the ship has sailed, literally.
You’re no longer at that waterfall taking pictures because there were five other boats behind you waiting to do exactly what you’ve done. Here’s the thing with the overnight cruise. It starts after all the day cruises have completed their rounds. This means you can take in the magnificence of the jaw-dropping Fiordland scenery uninterrupted.
If you spot the playful bottlenose dolphins in a spot, you will spend longer in that spot – there’s nowhere else for the boat to be other than right where it is in that moment. Surrounded by peaks that touch the sky, cascading waterfalls all around you, lush forest, and the sound of silence.
Where else in the world can you do that except on a Milford overnight cruise?
2. There’s something for everyone
The overnight cruise includes activities for everyone.
Once the RealNZ boat anchors in a sheltered cove, you can either choose to explore the coast in a small boat, kayak your way around the waters with a private guide or put your feet up on the deck and soak in the beauty all around you. I generally kick back with a book and a glass of wine and chill. There’s nothing more amazing to me than being able to chill out in an epic location.
Here you’re far from wifi which means you can truly take in the beauty of Milford.
Your guides fill you in on the marine life around you, and the rich history of the place as you paddle your way through crystal-clear waters admiring the perfect reflections around you. Regardless of what you choose to do, you will be rewarded with stunning scenery and lots of ‘wow’ moments!
3. Open up your mind
The captain and crew onboard are extremely knowledgeable and super keen to share their knowledge with all of us.
A small limited group of people helps because everyone can interact and ask questions without feeling overwhelmed. Forget being on a ship the size of a city. RealNZ keeps it intimate and special.
You learn about the rich history of the place – how sealers and settlers made their way to Milford. Trust me; these stories are bananas. I reckon they don’t make men like they used to.
We learned all about the work that went into building the incredible Homer Tunnel. You’ll also learn about the local wildlife and forest. They’ll happily tell you about every mountain, every waterfall, and every animal you see! I guarantee you’ll leave Milford inspired and full of a newfound appreciation for the incredible land around us.
4. Fall asleep under the stars
The first time I did an overnight cruise in Fiordland, I was blown away by the incredible night sky. I walked out on the deck during the night, away from the light, and it felt like I had stepped into outer space. The water around us reflected millions of stars and the Milky Away above, filling my heart with so much joy; I still haven’t forgotten it.
Imagine being in a place where the only things surrounding you are pristine waters, untouched wilderness, and a million stars. Sounds idyllic, right? Being on a boat out in Milford Sound means that you can be in such a place. After dinner and dessert, spending time on the deck allows you to watch the stars show up (weather permitting), one twinkle at a time, and before you know, the sky is full of them, and you’re taken to a magical land.
And then, after a night of the best sleep, you’ll get, you wake up to see the sun rising in the fiord shining its soft glow over the majestic Mitre Peak. It’s always worth getting up for sunrise. And if for some reason, it is absolutely pouring, fear not, you’ll wake up to see a hundred new waterfalls that weren’t around the night before. Such is the unparalleled natural beauty of Milford Sound. It really is spectacular, no matter the weather.
5. It’s never been a better time
For as long as I have lived on the South Island, the overnight cruises in Fiordland have been sold out months in advance. Now for the first time, there are spots! There’s really no better time to be visiting Milford Sound for kiwis than now while borders are closed. Milford Sound is a bucket-list destination for millions worldwide, and we are blessed to have it in our backyard!
Pre-COVID, Milford received around a million visitors a year. As you can imagine, that number has dropped. Not only will you have Milford to yourself in the evening on an overnight cruise with RealNZ, you’ll also be able to experience it before and after in a way that is likely peaceful and serene. While the tour buses are away, the locals can play.
When you visit Milford Sound, there are day cruises and day hikes as well as many other activities on offer. However, the experience that’ll really leave you mesmerized is that of an overnight cruise in the serenity of the spectacular Milford Sound.
In fact, there are plenty of sales and deals for locals to get down and see Milford. For the first time since I can remember, RealNZ not only has space on their overnight cruise, but they’ve reduced their price for summer. You’re welcome.
So, what are you waiting for?
Have you been to Fiordland? Is an overnight trip in Milford Sound on your bucketlist? Spill!