Kayak or cruise Milford Sound?


Jul 30th, 2017, 07:50 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 637
Kayak or cruise Milford Sound?

We are planning to visit Milford Sound in late February. I am debating whether to go kayaking or on a cruise, and would appreciate hearing opinions about the pros and cons of each. If the cruise, which company do you recommend?

We will be driving to the Sound from Te Anau and would like to stop for one or more hikes along the way – probably mainly the hike to Key Summit, but possibly also one or more of the shorter ones. Do you recommend doing the kayak or cruise first or the hike first?

Thanks in advance for your help.
judilie is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2017, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,467
Have you read the reviews for Roscoe's Kayaking tours of Milford Sound?
And checked out their departure times?

The Key Summit hike takes 3 hours return.

In late February, the sun rises around 7 a.m. It sets around 8:30 to 8:40 p.m. So this should give you an idea of how much time you'll have for activities.

I've only kayaked Milford Sound (and Doubtful Sound) as part of Real Journey's overnight cruises. We kayaked for just a little more than an hour but I thought it was great. On the overnight cruise, you spend the night on Milford Sound and return to the dock at around 9 a.m. This gave us time to hike Key Summit and still get back to Te Anau fairly by the afternoon.

If you haven't yet booked your Te Anau accommodation, you might consider Milford Sound Lodge. This way you could do Roscoe's Kayak tour in the morning, then the key Summit hike in the afternoon before continuing on to Te Anau. I've not stayed at Milford Sound Lodge, but ElendiPickle has. She sent you a link to her trip report when you first asked for comments on your itinerary, but here's the link to her report, should you want to read about Milford Sound Lodge.
Diamantina is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2017, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,868
I've only taken the cruise (several times, different companies, all okay, liked Red Boat the most, Juicy the least, Real Journeys was somewhere in the middle), so can't compare with kayaking.

I highly recommend that you either:

1) leave Te Anau very early, and do your sightseeing/hiking en route to Milford, arrive in Milford late in the day and take a late cruise, then head back to Te Anau, thereby missing the bus traffic


2) leave Te Anau early, head directly to Milford for an early (9-10 am) cruise or kayak (arriving before the buses), then slowly work your way back to Te Anau, sightseeing and hiking on the return.

Either way, you will miss the bulk of the bus traffic.

We've done it both ways and rather liked being on the last cruise of the day, and returning to Te Anau on a completely empty Milford Road, as everyone had left for the day. We made it back in Te Anau in time for a late supper.
Melnq8 is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2017, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 227
Red Boat = Southern Discoveries, I believe.
deSchenke is offline  
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