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The gorgeous views from the water account for the popularity of cruising here. It's essential to book ahead between mid-December and March. All boats leave from the Milford wharf area. Avoid the midday sailings, as they link with tour buses and are the most crowded. Milford Sound Red Boat Cruises and Real Journeys run more than a dozen cruises a day between them, with extra options in summer.
Real Journeys. Real Journeys offers daily cruises on the Milford Monarch and its companion the Milford Haven. These trips cruise the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea, with views of waterfalls, rain forest, mountains, and wildlife. There's a choice of 1½-hour scenic cruises and 2½-hour nature cruises, at NZ$68 and $92, respectively. To have the most intense experience on the sound, sign up for one of the three overnight cruise options that are available from October to April. The Milford Mariner sleeps 60 passengers in private cabins with bathrooms (NZ$350 per person twin share, September–May), and the Milford Wanderer has bunk-style accommodation for 61 passengers (NZ$325 per person twin share, Nov–April), Lakefront Dr., Te Anau, 9600. 03/249–7416 or 0800/656–501. www.realjourneys.co.nz.
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