Milford Sound Cruise after Routeburn Hike

After a rewarding 32 km hike at Routeburn Track, we got picked up at the Divide Shelter around 11 am.

Milford Sound Cruise

Arriving at the wharf, I had the chance to actually look around, something that I feel wouldn’t be on offer with guided tour rushing you from one bus to a boat to another bus. I got the chance to see what was going on and take in the beauty before heading on my cruise.

I was on a boat that looked smaller than the others I had seen come into the wharf, a fact that I need not have worried about as it turns out a smaller boat is the way to go. We had an intimate cruise on Milford Sound; we had the chance to get closer to all the nature on offer, and our skipper took us further out than other cruises; all the way to the Tasman Sea. We discovered beautiful and dramatic waterfalls, we got up close and personal to the exciting seals and penguin habitats plus having a skipper and a guide made it easy to learn information and facts about the ‘Sound’.

For example, did you know that “Milford Sound is not actually a sound, but a fjord”
You read that right, Milford Sound commonly classed, as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ isn’t actually a Sound. It’s a Fjord, for those who are unclear about the difference here is what I learned from my knowledgeable guide:

A Sound, which is wider than a fjord, is created by a river or the sea; a Fjord is narrower and is created by a Glaciers carving down the bedrock and then it filling with water.

When Milford Sound was discovered it was mistakenly named a Sound because at the time it was thought a river had created it. However, with scientific findings over the years, it was discovered Milford Sound was actually created by glaciers.

So there you have it folks, Fjord not Sound.

While out on the cruise we had a spot of lunch. Lunch, I find can be a mild hiccup for tours of this sort, I always feel like they’ll never have enough options or it won’t suit my dietary requirements but for this aspect of the tour, I was pleasantly surprised.

All the sandwiches were fresh from a bakery in Te Anau, having had my lunch prebooked. The meat option was a chicken or ham sandwich roll which both looked delicious but what impressed me the most were the vegetarian and vegan options. The veggie option was a cheese salad sandwich roll with a tasty chutney and a chocolate slice. Usually, when you order a vegan option it always turns out to be just salad but on this cruise, the vegan option was a wonderful bean burger plus a vegan cake which was really tasty. I have to say just really great value for $11 (NZD).

Bus from Divide to Queenstown

On the bus back the driver picked some more hikers who just finished the Routeburn Track The driver really engaged with us and discussed how we found the track and spoke with guests, asking how they enjoyed the cruise. It made the journey home really pleasant being surrounded by such a friendly atmosphere.

The bus arrived back into Queenstown at a reasonable time and our friendly driver even offered to drop off some guests at the airport or along Frankton Road, which was great customer service.

Overall I had a breathtakingly beautiful trip to Milford Sound and using the Info Track Routeburn Loop with Cruise tour was the perfect way to do it. At no point did I feel rushed going from one bus or boat to another, I had time to actually enjoy my journey, the stunning views, get to know the history and facts and enjoy a nice lunch all while taking in the incredible wildlife and the geological wonder that is the Milford Sound.