We had a pretty intense debate about whether we should kayak the Sound or take a Cruise through the sound. Both offer something completely different to individuals and we suppose it really depends on preference. So what did we do at Milford Sound, Kayak or Cruise?
The answer is Cruise.
Well not everyday do we get the chance to go to Milford Sound and I’m sure the majority of people reading this don’t get to either. So we wanted to see as much of it as possible and taking a cruise is the way to do it. Now I’ll be honest when we first decided to opt out of kayaking (mainly due to price) and do the cruise I was a bit disappointed. In the end though we picked the best option for us.
The main difference between taking a cruise through the sound and Kayaking is distance.
Lets start with Kayaking so we can tell you why we didn’t choose to do this on the sound.
There are two ways to Kayak the sound, with a tour and with your own kayak. You are not required to take and pay for a tour if you want to kayak on the pristine waters. However if you choose to go on your own accord you should take precaution because the sound can have unpredictable weather and as you approach the Tasman Sea the waters get fairly rough and wind speeds can reach up to 120 km/h. If you are planning on kayaking on your own ensure you are advanced enough for the unpredictability of the region.
The most common tours take you to a small bay not far from where you launch at the harbour. These tours allow you to get right next to the shore and some even allow you to dock and have lunch on the shore. They do not take you all the way through the sound, so you will only see a small portion of it.
Taking a cruise through the Sound was something we will never forget and quickly became the best thing we did on the south island. We would do it a thousand times over.
The cruise boat takes you along the shores of the sound showcasing the grand waterfalls and mountains that make up the region. There are so many waterfalls here it is nearly impossible to count them all. As you reach the opening to the Tasman sea they open up the bow of the boat and allow tourists to experience the water splashing against the boat. Wind speeds can reach up to 120 km/h and the waters get quite choppy because of it. It is seriously incredible to feel the power of the wind against your face as the boat waivers up and down splashing the salty water on you.
When the boat is returning to the harbour they take you incredibly close to a raging waterfall. They allow guests to stay on the bow of the boat to experience the power of the sound. The falls splash so much water on you that we were soaked head to toe (and it was worth every second!). They also bring you along the shore where the New Zealand Fur Seals bask in the sun and when there are Yellow penguins they get the boat within metres so people can view these rare penguins. (We got lucky and one was swimming along the shore).
Had we not taken the cruise we would not have been able to experience the epic winds of the Tasman sea, the refreshing water of the —- falls, and the relaxation of the sound animals.
Kayaking would be a great option for the people who want a more up close and personal experience but perhaps not see the entire sound. The cruise is the better option for individuals who want a little bit of both.
In the end the only question is not do you want to see Milford Sound but is, To Kayak or Cruise the Sound?