6 Mar 2020 – Te Anau to Milford Sound – overnight cruise

We were up early for a full morning exploring Lake Te Anau before heading off on our overnight cruise around Milford Sound.

Morning mist clearing from Lake Te Anau.


We travelled in convoy to Milford Sound. Our driver / guide had a great sense of humour and kept us entertained for a full hour before one of the passengers put an end to his en route commentary. His hands free microphone headset was broken so he had to hold a mike in one hand, steer with the other and change gear with the third. We had a few stops on the way to Milford Sound, to stretch our legs and get bitten by sand flies.

We boarded around 4pm and after introductions and a safety briefing set off on the overnight cruise on the Milford Mariner.

We cruised into the breeze to visit the waterfalls up close then returned to Harrison Cove for either kayaking or nature cruises in the ship’s tenders. I paddled and Susan cruised. I spotted a few penguins on the shoreline, got buzzed by sandflies and soaked the sleeve of my jumper, but otherwise the expedition was uneventful.

That evening we dined at a table for 6 with two brits and two Aussies. The Brits, Sandra and Paul, had been travelling around NZ for twice as long as us. They were keen cyclists, finding 20 mile loops to ride every other day. Russell and Julie were from Queensland, just outside Brisbane. For the first time since arriving in NZ I had roast lamb.

That night I’d hoped to watch the stars but the weather was against us. We had to content ourselves with glimses of seals swimming around the stern.

We slept soundly and were up and ready for breakfast ( from 7am ) and the remainder of the cruise.