Cheapest day tour of the Milford sound

Milford sound is 5 hours by bus from Queenstown, and about 2 hours away from Te Anau. 
The typical weather is rain, with a few lucky sunny days. They say Milford sound is more beautiful when its raining and all this time I thought it was something they said to entice tourists to book tours and cruises even on bad weather and I wasn’t going to fall for it. I wanted to go on a nice sunny day.
Of course, a sunny day is rare down there but when I went to Queenstown I was happy to find that the weather forecast said it would be cloudy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon! When does the weather forecast ever get it right? Never, but wishful thinking made me believe it.
It rained! It was pouring rain, raining cats and dogs! It rained all through the bus ride going through Milford sound, but you know what? It was beautiful! To get there you go through mountains and mountains, and because it was raining so much all the mountains had formed thin waterfalls!
It was an unbelievable sight that could not be captured in camera or video, at least not by me because it just doesn’t explain how magnificent it looks. But here are a few videos I took to get a small idea of how it was. 

It rained hard, as we were going into the cruise as well and by the time we sat on the cruise my friend and I were soaking wet. Bring a PONCHO if you ever come to Milford sound. Really, it’s a life saver. 
Wet, cold and shivering was how we started the cruise ride. It was gloomy and grey, we couldn’t see anything because of the heavy fog and rain, we were in Milford sound yet couldn’t take pictures of it because there was nothing but rain to see. Our only entertainment was conversations with each other and this really fun Aussie guy we met as we waited to get on the bus. Good company makes even a gloomy day look bright.

But then a miracle! Suddenly the rain stopped, the fog cleared and we were able to see beautiful and majestic Milford sound in all its glory! It was sunny/cloudy but we could see clearly and it even felt warmer. The cruise offered many viewing spots so we went to the roof to see all the views and take a million pictures. 
They called us to go in for our fish and chips lunch but it seemed so wasteful to eat when the weather had cleared and allowed us to see this beauty, so we quickly went in for our lunch and quickly went up to the roof again. Eating while admiring the view with new friends. Oh, heaven. But then suddenly a gust of wind, the wind got so strong as I was telling our new Aussie friend some random story and blew my fish and chips away! It was so unexpected all I could do was laugh it off. 
Giving up we went inside the cabin to eat, anyways we had 2 whole hours to see everything.

It was the best day, and totally worth the trip to Queenstown just to see Milford sound. Totally recommend it.

Milford sound is a popular destination so there’s many companies that offer all kinds of tours for all kinds of prices. 
The cheapest way to visit Milford sound if you are staying in Queenstown is by a simple bus & cruise ride. Each company offers something a bit different like to try to entice tourists, some go by cheapest price offering simpler buses and cruises, some others have more luxurious buses and cruises, some offer lunch and snacks, some are overnight, some offer longer time on the cruise etc.
With all these options is really your choice on what you prioritize and your budget.

My friend and I chose, well, actually we didn’t have much choice because there was only one that was reasonably price and still available when we booked and this was the Go Orange! Milford sound cruise. For $139 you get a glass rooftop bus ride from Queenstown (5 hours), you also get a fish and chips lunch, 2-hour cruise on the Milford sound, and bus ride back to Queenstown (yet another 5 hours). It’s a really good deal, one of the cheapest we found and both the bus and cruise were nice.
Cheap was good

See you next Thursday. 

Wanderlady

Multilingual acupuncturist travelling the world