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Mississippi River Cruises for Seniors: An Unforgettable Experience
The Mississippi River is one of the most iconic rivers in the United States, and it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for seniors. A Mississippi River cruise is the perfect way to explore this majestic river while taking in the sights, sounds, and history of the area. From the comfort of a luxury riverboat, seniors can enjoy a relaxing journey down the river while taking in some of America’s most stunning scenery.
A Relaxing Cruise
A Mississippi River cruise is an ideal way for seniors to relax and enjoy some time away from their everyday lives. The slow-moving river provides a peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding and taking in the sights. The onboard amenities are designed with seniors in mind, with comfortable cabins, delicious meals, and plenty of activities to keep them entertained. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on deck and take in the fresh air as the boat slowly moves downriver.
An Educational Experience
A Mississippi River cruise also provides an educational experience for seniors. Along the way, they will learn about the history of this great river and its importance to American culture. There will be plenty of opportunities to visit historical sites along the way, such as Civil War battlefields or Native American villages. Plus, they can learn about local flora and fauna as they pass through different ecosystems along the river.
An Unforgettable Adventure
No matter what type of experience seniors are looking for on their Mississippi River cruise, they are sure to have an unforgettable adventure. From relaxing on board to exploring new places along the way, there is something for everyone on these cruises. Plus, with so many different itineraries available, seniors can choose a trip that best suits their needs and interests. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience that combines relaxation with education and adventure, then a Mississippi River cruise is just what you need.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Visiting Milford Sound in Winter
Grab your beanie and a big warm jacket – winter is our favourite time of year to experience Milford Sound! Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Milford Sound in winter, with handy tips on what to wear and bring with you.
How cold is it in Milford Sound during winter?
It’s no surprise that Milford Sound tends to get more visitors during the summer season. Hey, we get it – when you’re travelling in the South Island you might want to avoid chilly temperatures.
During the official New Zealand winter months of June, July and August temperatures in Milford Sound can be pretty cold. The average highs range from 6-11 degrees Celsius, or 42-53 degrees Fahrenheit. The shoulder months of May and September will also experience cooler weather.
Will it rain if I visit Milford Sound in winter?
Milford Sound is famous for being one of the wettest places in New Zealand (and the world!), with as many as 200 rainy days every year.
What you might not realise, though, is most Milford Sound rainfall occurs between October and March. This means if you visit Milford Sound during winter you’re actually more likely to encounter clear skies and unobstructed views!
However, if you do visit on a rainy day, the dramatic weather only adds to the wild beauty of the landscape. Could there be anything more picturesque than standing on the bow of a ship, dark waters lapping around you, watching clouds of mist swirling around the surrounding mountain peaks and waterfalls cascading into the sea from far above? Check out our blog post about visiting Milford Sound when it’s raining for more on this topic (seriously, we could talk for hours about it. But we won’t.)
Is Milford Sound busy in winter?
Even though skiers and snowboarders flock to Queenstown and the surrounding areas in winter, you’ll find fewer crowds in Milford Sound at this time of year.
This is good news for you! Tours and cruises are still running (even if some operators are on reduced timetables while international visitors are still missing from our shores). You’ll have your pick of seats on board coaches and cruise ships and have plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the stunning views, as well as the overwhelming serenity of this amazing destination.
During peak season, many of the most popular photo stops along the Milford Road can be overrun with tour coaches, campervans and cars with everyone jostling for a place to park and the best view of that must-have Instagram shot. We’re telling you, now is the time to experience Milford Sound without the crowds.
What will I see in Milford Sound during winter?
One of the best parts about cruising Milford Sound in winter is the wildlife! Seals, penguins and dolphins venture further inland from the open sea and enjoy the quieter months in the fiord, so you’re more likely to encounter these cuties.
Don’t forget that the days are shorter during winter, and it gets dark much earlier down here at the bottom of the South Island. The sun rises around 7am and sets around 5pm, so plan your day and adjust your expectations accordingly.
How do I get to Milford Sound in winter?
The best way of visiting Milford Sound in winter is cosy and snug inside a tour coach , listening to your driver guide spinning yarns about the area and snapping pics out the window. If you choose to drive to Milford Sound , make sure you check the road status before you leave and make sure you’re all set with snow chains. There is a risk of avalanche on the Milford Road during winter.
Don’t forget you can always splurge on a scenic flight back to Queenstown. Soaring back over the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park is something you’ll never forget – plus it’s heaps quicker, so you can make that dinner reservation!
What should I wear to visit Milford Sound in winter?
The key point if you’re dressing for a winter tour to Milford Sound is to layer up! Wear thick socks and warm shoes, a range of light but warm layers that you can add and remove as needed, and a waterproof or at least showerproof jacket over the time. Add a scarf, hat and gloves and you’re all set!
Even if the weather forecast is fine, trust us on the waterproof jacket. During your Milford Sound cruise you’ll want to be out on deck as much as possible to enjoy the stunning views. Even if you steer clear as the skipper steers right up close to one of the fiord’s many waterfalls , the spray can still travel!
Make sure your phone and/or camera is fully charged and has plenty of memory, because you’ll be snapping pics and videos like crazy all day! Many tour coaches have USB charge points on board, or you might like to plan ahead and bring a power pack so you don’t run out of battery (womp womp).
There you have it – the complete guide to visiting Milford Sound in winter! Now head to our Milford Sound deals page to snap up a great value tour or cruise.
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5 Reasons to Visit Milford Sound in Winter
Winter is a special time in Milford Sound. If you are thinking about visiting Milford Sound in June or July, don’t be put off by colder temperatures, it is well worth the effort of a few extra layers!
Fewer people, impressive weather, and waterfalls at full-throttle are just a few of the things we love about Milford Sound during the cooler months.
Here are five reasons why you should visit Milford Sound this winter.
1. You’ll have the place (pretty much) to yourself
During the summer months, Milford Sound is a popular place, and the road and cruise terminal can get busy. From April onwards, we see fewer visitors and things get a little more chilled out. The sights and experiences are just as amazing, but you’ll have many of them to yourself.
2. Fiordland’s glorious winter weather
Think that fine, sunny weather is a prerequisite for a visit to our World Heritage site? When it comes to Milford Sound, think again. Extreme weather patterns define the geography of this place, and wildly changeable weather is common throughout the year. Adding to the drama of the landscape, Fiordland sees around 200 wet days per year . Why is that a good thing, you might ask? See reason number 3…
3. Waterfalls in all their glory
Milford Sound comes to life during torrential rain. Enormous granite cliffs are suddenly covered by great rivers of rainwater, scouring the sides of the mountains in huge, flowing ribbons. Both the Bowen and Sutherland Falls are at their most vibrant after heavy rainfall. Feeling the spray of a Milford Sound waterfall as it thunders down a cliff face is something pretty special, and is something that is possible when you take a cruise on Milford Sound.
But it's not just Milford Sound that comes to life when the heavens open; the Milford Road, one of the world’s most stunning drives, is also at its moody, misty best. At higher altitudes, rain falls as snow, dusting the tops of local mountains in a stark white; turning Milford into a winter wonderland.
4. A photographer’s dream
Wildlife – both in and around the water – thrives in Milford Sound. During the winter months, guests are often delighted to be able to enjoy pods of dolphins, fur seals and even the odd whale without the hustle and bustle of high season. Photographers will love not needing to compete with others for the perfect shot, and because boat cruise timetables are pared back in the winter months, there's a lower chance of another boat getting in your photo. Back on land, soak up opportunities to take photos of the kea or weka – they seem to be more confident when there are fewer people around.
5. Cosy winter accommodation in Milford Sound
Milford Sound Lodge’s Riverside Chalets are our most popular accommodation options during the winter months. King-size beds, grand views, your own kitchenette and even a bath (BYO bubbles) makes coming back to your room at the end of a day’s exploring absolute bliss. We think there’s nothing better than being cosied up in your chalet at night when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring, especially when you’re deep within a national park!
We’ll see you this winter in Milford Sound! Discover accommodation at Milford Sound Lodge.
Want to know more...
- Milford Sound Wildlife
- Our favourite Milford Sound Winter Photos
- Milford Sound Boat, Cruise or Kayak
Milford Sound Cruises
Now's Good! It is the perfect time to experience spectacular Milford Sound. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains and lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative, and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.
Cruise in style on board the newly refurbished Milford Haven. More than a boat, the Haven is a cruising bar and restaurant. Enhance your cruise with something from our café-style menu and pair it perfectly with a fresh craft beer or local wine.
The Milford Haven boasts a large rooftop deck with 360-degree views of the fiord. You can also choose to explore the fiord from the comfort of the cosy lounge, or there is a window seat for everyone in the café.
Take in the view from our cosy indoor lounge, or relax outdoors on the rooftop deck.
Enjoy the Havens café-style menu, fresh craft beer and barista-made coffee.
Save 10% when you book a Milford Day Cruise. Use 'MILFORD10' at checkout.
Our nature guide will be on board to share stories about Piopiotahi and help you spot our famous locals wildlife.
- Te Anau Downs
Staying in Queenstown? Let us drive you to Milford Sound.
Make your own way to Milford Sound and join one of our daily cruises.
Get your photo featured: #RealNZ
Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with our leisurely cruise aboard the Milford Haven , Milford Mariner or M.V. Sinbad . Exploring the length of the fiord you’ll learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you move in close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and, in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our experienced skippers tailor the cruise to take into consideration weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you’ll see the best that Milford Sound has to offer on the day.
Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience what’s been called the “eighth wonder of the world”.
- Great viewing from both the outdoor decks and indoor lounge
- Restaurant quality food & beer on tap
- Barista coffee and tea available (extra cost)
- The cruise will be aboard the Milford Haven, Milford Mariner or the M.V. Sinbad
- Milford Sound is in remote Fiordland, with no WIFI available, the perfect place to unplug and recharge
- All ages are welcome on our cruises
The journey to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Road is just as remarkable as the destination itself.
Milford Sound is around 5-6 hours (one-way) from Queenstown and around 3 hours from Te Anau.
If you are self-driving from Queenstown, try to stay overnight in Te Anau as the trip to Milford and back from Queenstown can get very tiring. Also, leave plenty of time to stop at the many scenic trails and lookouts along the way.
What to bring
Non-slip shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, warm sweater/fleece jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses, insect repellent and camera.
Personal medication including for asthma and allergies.
Really excellent cruise and incredible views. Staff all friendly and very knowledgeable, especially our bus driver, Ryan, across from Queenstown who made sure the journey was as good as the cruise traveller1694, Via TripAdvisor
Such a beautiful trip. Easy pickup. So glad I went with RealNZ. It seemed to be the only bus with a glass roof, which was definitely needed to appreciate the soaring views of glaciers and mountains along the way. Driver Nathan had great commentary, learnt a lot along the way. Appreciated the photo stops and comfort stops. Milford Sound cruise was seamless, and breathtaking. 100% recommend. tona0, Via TripAdvisor
This trip was incredible, if you are visiting Queenstown/Te Anau it is an absolute bucket list trip!! The pickup was really easy - RealNZ sent a taxi to pick us up from our hotel in Queenstown, which included in the price. Our driver Paulie absolutely made the trip - he provided insightful and funny commentary for almost 6 hours non-stop on the way to Milford Sound and had such detailed knowledge of the flora and fauna in the region. The bus has windowed ceilings, so you can see a very wide angle view, which gives an incredible view of the mountains for the entire drive. The bus also stops several times on the way, including in Te Anau (if coming from Queenstown), and several points in Fiordland, to take in the view and get some picture. The boat tour is also incredible - I would recommend bringing your own lunch rather than getting the included lunch, and spending as much time as possible on one of the viewing decks! The whole experience was incredibly well planned, with almost no effort on our end, and completely seamless. Again, if you are in Queenstown or Te Anau, this is an absolute must!! soumyak2012, via TripAdvisor
Our tour guide, Nathan, was just excellent! He literally narrated non-stop for the entire trip to Milford Sound, filled us in with all the interesting and worthy sights/things to take note. Obviously he wouldn't have done it without good knowledge of what is going on, not to mention on all the wonderful pit stops he made. Wonderful trip! Make sure you get Nathan of RealNZ. pengyeww, Via TripAdvisor
Amazing experience! The milford sound is a stunning area! An absolute must do when visiting New Zealand! Hannah S, Via TripAdvisor
Our day trip coach driver/tour guide Nathan was a wealth of knowledge and loads of fun to be with our entire 10hrs Milford Sounds day trip! Super friendly, very passionate with sharing his knowledge and very attentive towards us travelers. We felt very safe, and came back from our trip full of knowledge of the entire route heading to and from Queenstown to Milford Sounds! Great awesome experience on the RealNZ cruise, the boat was very large, plenty of space for people to take pics and nice sparkly clean toilets. Awesome experience getting up and close to the waterfalls but skipper was amazing to get us close enough without drenching us passengers! Can't recommend RealNZ enough! Connector141991323 Via TripAdvisor
Our super bus driver/guide was SO right that the heavy rain we were having would make our cruise on Milford Sound an EPIC trip! The combination of rain and Milford Sound, along with hanging out on the bow of the Milford Haven and getting drenched, made for an awesome experience and life-long memory! If you have any flexibility in your Milford Sound tour dates, shoot for a rainy day. And get outside! And to reiterate, our Real NZ bus driver/guide provided wonderful commentary while providing a comfortable and safe ride. Its a long day from Queenstown, but his commentary and music made for a great trip. Thank you! Y7756QJmikek, Via TripAdvisor
How long does it take to travel to Milford Sound?
If you are travelling from Queenstown it will take around 5 hours to reach Milford. Te Anau to Milford is around 2 hours 30 minutes. This timing allows for toilet and photo stops along the way. If driving, make sure you fill your vehicle with petrol in Te Anau before travelling to Milford as there are no petrol stations at Milford Sound or en route. For more details, refer to our Driving Times webpage.
At Milford where do you park and go to check in?
Please allow up to 45 mins - 1 hour to park your vehicle and transfer to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, where you must check in for your cruise 20 minutes prior to departure. Car parking at Milford Sound is organised by Milford Sound Tourism (MST). The main parking area is approx. a 10 minute walk to the terminal. Parking in Deepwater Basin is approx. a 25 minute walk from the terminal.
Parking fees will apply in the main car parking area operated by Milford Sound Tourism. The cost will be $10 per hour.
What is the Milford Sound Levy?
The Milford Sound Levy is paid to the Milford Sound Tourism authority and helps to maintain, preserve and develop the Fiord. For more information, see the Milford Sound Tourism website .
What weather can I expect in Fiordland?
Fiordland’s weather is what gives the region its unique character. Rainfall is what makes Fiordland a land of lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.
The temperatures you can expect in the different seasons are as follows:
- Summer (December-February) 19-23 Celsius / 66 - 73 Fahrenheit
- Autumn (March-May) 8-18 Celsius / 46 - 64 Fahrenheit
- Winter (June-August) 5-9 Celsius / 41 - 48 Fahrenheit
- Spring (September-November) 10-19 Celsius / 50 - 66 Fahrenheit
Is it worth going to Milford/Doubtful Sounds on a wet day?
Many say you have not seen Fiordland unless you have seen it in the rain. When it rains in Fiordland the landscape is dramatic - rock faces stream with waterfalls, mist hangs around the tops of the mountains and rivers and streams rage. From a dry comfortable vantage point on the bus or boat, this landscape is spectacular for sightseeing.
What is the difference between Milford and Doubtful Sounds?
Our places. Our experiences. Milford and Doubtful Sounds, NZ.
Milford Sound at the mountainous north end of Fiordland National Park is the classic fiord - a deep water inlet between steep sided high mountains. Milford Sound is a middle-sized fiord at around 13 kms in length and it is famous for its dramatic scenery, especially Mitre Peak. This fiord is the most accessible of Fiordland National Park’s 14 fiords and it can be reached by bus, car or flight connections from Queenstown.
Doubtful Sound is located in the heart of Fiordland National Park where the mountains are still very impressive but not as high as Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is three times longer and has a sea surface area roughly ten times larger than Milford Sound. Its three arms are Hall, Crooked and First Arm. It is famous for its wilderness scenery and wildlife sightings. To get to Doubtful Sound visitors first take a launch trip across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass.
Visitors with enough time choose to visit both fiords as they have different characters.
While we cannot guarantee you will see wildlife, sightings of fur seals are reasonably common in both Doubtful and Milford Sounds. A pod of bottlenose dolphins resides in Doubtful Sound so you have a good chance of seeing these fascinating mammals, and in Milford Sound dolphins are occasional visitors. In both sounds the rare Fiordland crested penguin can at times be observed.
What are the driving conditions to Milford like in the winter?
Driving conditions during winter (May to September) can be difficult. Extreme care is needed as freezing temperatures mean the road can ice over in shaded places. During the winter it is mandatory to carry snow chains in your vehicle as the road can sometimes be covered in snow. These are available for hire from petrol stations in Te Anau and Queenstown.
If you are not confident about driving in winter conditions then take a RealNZ coach to Milford Sound so you can relax and take in the stunning scenery.
Your travel agent or the outlet where you purchased your Milford Sound trip will refund the flight component of your ticket. You will return to Queenstown by coach.
Throughout Fiordland the fiords are officially mapped as sounds. Strictly speaking, they should be called fiords.
A fiord is a glaciated valley - typically narrow and steep-sided - that has been flooded by the sea after the glacier’s retreat. A sound, on the other hand, is a river valley flooded by the sea following a rise in sea levels or depression of the land, or a combination of both.
Do I need to bring a car seat for my child?
Car seats are not mandatory on our coaches, and we do not have then available for hire. Parents are more than welcome to bring their own car seats.
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Milford Sound Cruise "Premium" - Winter
At Milford Sound Visitor Centre / Terminal and Boat Harbour. (Milford Sound Highway, Milford 9679)
Relax on board a luxury catamaran surrounded by the spectacular nature of Milford Sound during the winter months. This premium Milford Sound cruise will provide you with an exceptional level of comfort and hospitality while cruising near the '8th wonder of the world' ! Thanks to the unique glass roof and 3 large viewing decks , you will not miss anything during the Milford Sound cruise. The surrounding scenery will be projected live on TV screens throughout the vessel, so no matter, where you are, you won't miss a thing! You are also welcome in our onboard bar offering a great selection of food, snacks and drinks. Highlights: - Premium Milford Sound cruise to the "8th wonder of the world" - Luxury Catamaran with a glass roof & 3 viewing decks (indoor/outdoor) - Live projection of the outdoor footage onto TV screens Departure & Arrival: Check-in for Milford Sound Cruise on time at Milford Sound Visitor Centre Main Terminal . The Milford Sound Cruise lasts 105 min and we return to the departure point. Characteristics of the boat: - Number of passengers: 150 - Bar (Snacks, Noodles, Drinks) - Sun-protected area - 4 Restrooms
7 days/week support