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Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory)
Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory)

Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory)

Open daily 9am-4pm
Harrison’s Cove, Milford Sound , New Zealand, 9600

The basics

The marine environment at Milford Sound is special, as it combines a top layer of fresh water and underlying layers of salty seawater. Visitors to New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory can see black coral—normally found deep in the ocean—fish, seals, penguins, and possibly even dolphins. While the experience might seem a bit like an aquarium, what visitors observe is actually the open water, not contained within an enclosure. As well as the viewing area, there are displays and videos with information about the history and environment of Milford Sound, and the construction of the Homer Tunnel through the mountains, which many travelers will have passed through on their way to Milford Sound. As the center can only be accessed by boat, most travelers visit while on a cruise or kayaking tour.

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Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
star-4.5
$78.16 per adult
Traveler Favorite
The cruise was amazing....
The cruise was amazing. However, we couldn’t do the underwater observatory as it was closed due to some damages.
Shashikala_R, Aug 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Fiordland & Milford Sound

star-5
Amazing and Informative
Debbid_P, Jul 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
It was an amazing cruise, the guide was very informative and was great he had local knowledge on the area. The packed lunch was fantastic. Beautiful trip.
star-5
A trip through Mother Nature paradise
ChenNam_K, Jul 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
The scenery was so beautiful. Views of majestic snow capped mountains, waterfalls and fiords….they are so mesmerising and makes one just want to seat down and stare at them in awe. We also saw some dolphins and seals in this paradise, as bonus. Strongly recommended as a must visit at least once in a lifetime 👍👍👍
star-5
Great day cruising Milford Sound
Megan_K, Jul 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
A great day, beautiful sunshine, really good cruise, not overcrowded. Picnic lunch was generous. Would definitely recommend this.
star-5
Kayak was fantastic
Tony_H, Apr 2022
Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour
Very well managed. Holly was amazing and we really enjoyed the kayaking. Nice to be on a smaller boat
star-5
Fab family trip
Bernadette_H, Jul 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
Whole thing was spectacular - amazing waterfalls, great commentary, yummy picnic lunch, comfy boat. And the dolphins were the cherry on top.
star-5
Amazing place
PierreGeoffrey_M, Jul 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
Most memorable part of the cruise when dolphin chased us. That's really awesome. We definetly come back and spend more time to enjoy the amazing place.
star-5
Awesome tour... cool guides!
welzer1986, Dec 2019
Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Kayak Tour
A cool trip, informative and exciting... we would do it again! Southern discovery’s did. a great Job!
star-5
Excellent day !
Pete_N, Jun 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
The day started with the drive from Te Anau which was very enjoyable and so much to see even having a Kea sitting on my wing mirror whilst waiting to go through the tunnel , the cruise was also excellent as was the underwater observatory all the staff were very helpful we had a terrific day so thank you to all who helped make the day go as well as it did !
star-5
Awesome
elizabeth_c, Jun 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
Under water observatory Fantastic scenery Great tour guide on under water observatory very clear to hear and very knowledgeable
star-5
Timeless classic - a must do in NZ
YEWMENG_L, May 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
The stunning waterfalls and layered mountains plus the beautiful rainbow. A sight to behold even after 21 years. The observatory was educational.
star-5
Mindblowing
Kim_F, May 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
This trip was mindblowing, stunning day and unbelievable views. The staff where great, helpful, and answered all our questions. Our picnic lunch was awesome along with the observatory visit. High recommend.
star-5
What an amazing...
pete_c, May 2022
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
What an amazing experience . The addition of the underwater pontoon was awesome . What an amazing back yard we have
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Things to know before you go

  • Rainfall is very high in Milford Sound, so you’re likely to need a good raincoat and water-resistant shoes for your trip.
  • The center is wheelchair accessible but the observation deck is not: it’s necessary to climb down about 60 steps.
  • Allow around half an hour for your visit.
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How to get there

The center is located in Harrison Cove, on the eastern side of Milford Sound, and is only accessible by boat. Various cruise and kayaking tours of Milford Sound include a stop at the center.

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When to get there

Milford Sound is a year-round travel destination, but busiest in the warmer summer months (December-February). There’s a lot of rain throughout the year, but rainfall doesn’t spoil the experience of visiting Milford Sound or the observatory.

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Kayak Tour

While many travelers tour Milford Sound on cruises of varying sizes, active travelers should consider taking a kayaking tour instead. You get a more intimate perspective of the coastline, going near colonies of birds or seals that live on rocks, paddling near waterfalls, and can access little bays that larger boats can’t.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory)?
A:
Attractions near Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory):
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Fiordland & Milford Sound?
A:
As well as visiting the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory (Milford Sound Observatory), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: