Discovering Milford Sound’s Magic

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Southern Discoveries has operated in Milford Sound – dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” by poet Rudyard Kipling – for more than 60 years, offering several cruises and coach connections from Queenstown and Te Anau.

The cruise and kayak adventure was introduced in 2012 providing a closer interaction with Milford Sound’s unique ora, fauna and geography.

Due to its growing popularity Southern Discoveries is promoting a new late return coach connection from November until April to enable people to kayak on their day trip to Milford Sound.

Kayak guide Tadhg McDermott says he feels “very lucky to paddle in one of the country’s wildest areas”.

“I’ve done kayak trips around New Zealand for a few years and Milford Sound has some
of the most impressive scenery. It’s rugged and wild with unpredictable weather so every day is different. I love showing people where I work, it’s such a unique area. Visitors come here for a reason and all the guides want to make it special.”

Kayakers travel to Milford in a premium, glass roof coach and take a cruise through the ord before arriving at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory for the kayak trip.

Tadhg says a specially-built platform lowers the kayaks into the water making them easy to access.

“There’s only about eight guests per guide, so we can cater the trip to each group and kids can go in the double kayaks. We paddle out to Harrison’s Cove where there’s a fresh water river to dunk your head in and big cliffs which create a great echo – that usually gets everyone amped up. We inform guests about the nature and wildlife in Milford Sound as well as Maori legends about the area and guide them through the observatory, where sea life such as black coral can be seen.”

Whatever the weather the Milford kayaking adventure is always spectacular, according to Tadhg.

“On a typical day, we see epic waterfalls, rainforest-covered peaks and maybe dolphins, seals and penguins.You never know who’s going to pop up, it’s always a surprise. We once had a large pod of bottlenose dolphins swim beside us for the whole trip which was a fantastic experience for the kayakers.”

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