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Scenic Sailing Milford Sound

Scenic Sailing Milford Sound

Upon leaving Burnie, Tasmania, we were faced with another few days at sea to get back to New Zealand across the Tasman heading for Milford Sound. 

These two sea days were spent not doing very much, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I spent most of both days on the couch in my room. There was still plenty to do though, team trivia was still on, Maori culture ambassadors had boarded the ship and were doing workshops on language and aspects of the Maori culture like singing, dancing, and the Haka.

Milford Sound

We arrived in Milford Sound ridiculously early in the morning of the 29th, after two days at sea.

For the next day, we would be sailing into the sound and back, before heading to Dusky Sound and then on to Dunedin.  

During the scenic sailing, there is a running commentary in the Crows Nest Bar, and they open up all of the viewing platform decks, so the bow, upper deck 12 and the viewing deck on deck 9 so that everyone has an opportunity to see as much of the sound as possible.


As we entered Milford Sound so early, we also woke early, at 6 am (which for someone who isn’t a morning person, 6 am is basically torture). So we got up, and rugged up warm —it is incredibly cold inside Milford Sound particularly at that hour of the morning — and headed straight for the bow for the best vantage point. Quite a few people were already up, and milling around watching the beautiful scenery. When we got up we were almost at the waterfall which is at the end of Milford Sound, so we got up to see that, and then watch as we sailed out of the sound. Sailing out of the Sound was quite beautiful, I think as New Zealanders we take that kind of scenery for granted, we see green trees on mountains all the time, it’s something quite familiar to us, but there were quite a few Americans on board, and to see them marvel at Milford Sound was just as interesting of a sight.


Once we sailed out of Milford Sound, we turned left to travel down the West Coast, and go through Dusky Sound.

Unlike Milford Sound, Dusky Sound is shaped almost like U and you can sail in one end and out the other, where Milford is completely closed.  

There seems to be a lot more history to Dusky Sound, Captain Cook sailed through the Sound, and created an observatory at a point inside the Sound to be able to pinpoint the exact latitude and longitude of the Sound. Sealing also began in Dusky Sound, again Captain Cook, journaled finding heaps of seals inside the Sound, and when word got around that seals were there, sealing boats came down to Dusky Sound and nearly completely wiped out the seal population of Dusky Sound.


The Sounds are really quite beautiful, and if you have never been to one, then it is something I would highly recommend, but as someone who has been through a Sound before, and done more and seen more in that previous experience sailing through on a large ship wasn’t as breathless to me. I would recommend sailing a sound on a smaller boat, when you can do other activities off that boat, last time for me, we were on a one night cruise through Doubtful Sound, and on the full day there were things like kayaking and speed boating along the sound, which we couldn’t do on a cruise ship.

Once we left Dusky Sound it was onwards toward Dunedin. 

Port 5: Dunedin

Port 5: Dunedin

Port 3 & 4: Melbourne and Burnie

Port 3 & 4: Melbourne and Burnie