Frequently Asked Questions
Where do your tours depart from?
Our Milford Sound tours and guided walks (except Milford Track) depart from the Te Anau township. Accommodation pickups within the town boundaries are available if details are provided. Alternatively our central pick up is the Real Journeys office, Lakefront Drive. The exception is our Milford Track 1/2 day guided walk which departs from Milford Sound and you will need to make your own way there.
What guided walks are suitable for us?
We have a selection of walks suitable for all abilities, from children upwards. Our walks range from half days, requiring a limited fitness, to more strenous for people wanting a challenge and to get into the alpine area.
We classify the Milford Track and Kepler half day walk as suitable for all abilities and ages. With a walking time of 3-4 hours and a distance of 11 km, with no big hills to climb, they are perfect for people wanting to experience an introductionary walk in Fiordland. The Kepler Track also has the option to be shortened to a 6 km walk so suitable for family groups with a mix of young and old. Both the Milford and Kepler Tracks are part of the NZ Great Walk system which ensures the tracks are maintained to a high standard. The Milford Track can be affected by high rain fall so you will need a good jacket. The Kepler Track is relatively dry for the area so suitable year round and no special clothing is required. Sandshoes or trainers are all that are required on your feet for these walks.
The Kepler Heli-hike begins with a flight to the top of Mount Luxmore and a walk down (or you can go to the top of the mountain if wanting a longer walk). Being down hill only an average fitness is required and it is a great way to experience a NZ Great walk. More often this walk is only a couple plus your Trips & Tramps guide, so you set your own pace.
The Routeburn Guided Walk is a nice day walk in the heart of the Fiordland Mountains. On a well graded track you get into the alpine area and rewarded with stunning views for you efforts. This walk does require some fitness with a 400 meter climb to Key Summit. We would recommend this walk for children 8 years upwards. Being in the alpine area you will need to be prepared with warm clothing and a rain/wind jacket. Sandshoes or trainers will be suitable on your feet. With frequent stops and small groups (usually 2-4 people) it is great option for those who have a full day available for a walk and do not wish to rush the experience.
The Lake Marian and Gertrude Saddle guided walks are for people wanting to get onto a real NZ tramping track and have done some walking on outdoor tracks previously. We recommend hiking or ankle supported boots on these walks as the tracks can be rough underfoot at times. Usually these walks have 2-4 people on them so the pace is set by you, whether slow or fast. Both of these walks are in the mountains and your efforts are rewarded by stunning vistas.
How do I get to Te Anau?
State Highways connect Te Anau from Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill. The following are recommended driving times.
|Queenstown - Te Anau||2.5 hour driving time|
|Dunedin - Te Anau||4.0 hour driving time|
|Invercargill - Te Anau||2.0 hour driving time|
Do I need to book in advance?
We recommend you book in advance to secure your place on our tours, as space is limited, particularly during the months of November, January and February.
What weather can I expect in Fiordland?
You should be prepared for all weather in Fiordland, year round. From clear blue skies to wild days when storms rage. Rain makes Fiordland, and when it falls it alters the landscape dramatically - rock faces stream with waterfalls and rivers rage. So bring suitable clothing for cool and wet weather during your tour and enjoy!
What are the Milford Road Conditions like in winter?
Extreme care is needed during the winter months (May to September) due to the potential for ice and snow on the Milford Road. Our experienced, Milford Road accredited driver will transport you in safety and comfort during this period so you can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
What is your payment/cancellation policy?
All transactions are conducted in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) and include GST 15%. The name that will appear on your statement will be Trips & Tramps.
For guided walks (excluding the Milford Track option) and track transport bookings your credit card information is held to secure the booking only and payment is taken on the day of travel from your driver/guide. Mastercard, Visa or cash are accepted on our coaches.
Bookings for our Milford trips, including the Coach, Cruise & Walk & Milford Track will be charged immediately to the credit card given.
If a booking is cancelled outside 48 hour before travel you will recieve a full refund or nil charge. Client cancellations 48 hours or less from departure will receive a 100% charge for the booked excursion. Date transfers may be made within 48 hours, subject to availability. Due to exchange rate fluctuations, at times there may be some variance in the amounts refunded compared to the amount initially charged. Fiordland Trips and Tramps Ltd does not accept any liability for these variances or any subsequent credit card/bank charges relating to these transfers to customer's accounts.
What do I need to bring on your Milford Sound tour?
We recommend you bring the following: comfortable shoes, warm sweater/fleece jacket, waterproof jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, insect repellent, and camera. In addition, if you like the idea of walking to Key Summit on the Routeburn Track, you will also need walking shoes, drinking water and snacks.
What boat do you cruise on at Milford Sound?
At Milford Sound we cruise with Real Journeys.
|Winter Season May - September||Real Journeys Nature Boat Cruise departing 1.00pm. 2 hours in length. A leisurely cruise on Milford Sound with a specialist nature guide on board.|
|Summer Season October - April||Real Journeys Nature Boat Cruise departing 10.30 am. 2 hours 30 minutes in lenght. Nature Cruises have a flexible itinerary that allows plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and pause to view highlights.|
What is available for lunch at Milford Sound?
During the summer season October to April a picnic lunch is included on our Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Walk. It is a Chicken Salad roll in a ciabatta bun, sweet slice selection, and piece of fruit. If you have a dietary requirement (e.g. gluten free or vegetarian) please let us know as this can be catered for. Afternoon or morning tea is also provided and consists of homestyle biscuit and a hot drink.
If you are doing our Milford Track morning guided walk you have the opportuntity to purchase food at the Blue Duck Cafe, Milford Sound Lodge Cafe or there is a limited selection on the 2.00 pm boat cruise. Alternatively you can bring your own from Te Anau and have a picnic. There is limited time for eating lunch on the walk so we recommend you bring snacks to keep you going.
What is the Underwater Observatory or Milford Discovery Centre?
The underwater observatory or Milford Discovery Centre is an optional add on to your Milford Sound Cruise (additional charges apply). Near the end of your Milford Sound cruise you get dropped off at a floating pontoon in the sheltered Harrisons Cove. Here you descend 10 m underwater into a spacious viewing chamber which offers uninterrupted 360-degree views of a rich marine ecosystem, unparalleled anywhere else in the world. It’s a world of primeval creatures and exotic habitats, including the rare Black Coral. Milford Sound offers a unique underwater environment due to the large amount of rain fall. This fresh water layer effectively blocks out the sunlight underwater, so you get species usually found at very deep depths (around 500 m) living very close to the surface. Of significance is the Black Coral species, which are actually white 300 year old ‘trees’. It is not a bright colourful place like other coral reefs, but very unique and a biological wonder! If you are interested in the under water world I would recommend it. You spend 30 minutes at the observatory before being brought back to the main wharf complex by another boat. Meanwhile other people on our tour who do not wish to do this option will have an extra 30 minutes at Milford Sound, where we give them the option of doing the foreshore walk or visiting the fishing complex in Deep Water Basin. Usually we wouldn’t spend this extra time at Milford Sound, but there is plenty to keep the other occupied if we do! The extra time at the water observatory does mean the trip gets back a bit later in the day (closer to 6.00 pm). But as this is often once in a life time day out why not spend the extra time?