Otago
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Popular Safaris & Wildlife Activities in Otago

Our most recommended Otago Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Milford Sound Fiord Cruise & Helicopter Glacier Landing

1. Milford Sound Fiord Cruise & Helicopter Glacier Landing

Discover Milford Sound's stunning fjord from high in the air and on the water. Land in Milford and join an unforgettable fjord cruise past sheer cliffs and gushing waterfalls.Try to spot dolphins, seals, and adorable penguins. Then enjoy an exhilarating flight past spectacular rivers, valleys, and mountains with blue-green ice falls, and experience a glacier or mountain landing in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Today, many of the local landscapes can be recognized because of their use as film locations. You can even fly over where movies were filmed! The pilots regularly work with film production crews and are happy to share plenty of stories of life on the film set. Finally, for the photo opportunity of a lifetime, alight on a glacier and enjoy panoramic views. These highly experienced, well-known local pilots can’t wait to share with you their extensive knowledge and history of the area while showing you the best of New Zealand's amazing scenery. Please note that there may not be snow on the day of your flight depending on the season, especially during summer.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

2. Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take flight a small luxury plane leaving Queenstown. Admire the awe-inspiring scenery from your very own window seat as you soar over Fiordland National Park, listening to the pilot's commentary. Landing at Milford Sound airport you will be escorted to the Cruise Terminal either by shuttle or 15 minute nature walk to meet your boat. Enjoy 2 hours of spectacular scenery and wildlife on the Gem of the Sound, learn all about the history of the area from the skipper as he skillfully pulls the boat underneath waterfalls and right up to the base of famous Mitre Peak. Your pilots will meet you off the cruise at the Terminal and take you back to the awaiting plane for your return to Queenstown. Your complimentary shuttle will drop you back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the legendary dining scene.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

3. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

In the heart of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is known as one of New Zealand’s top scenic attractions. On this day tour from Queenstown, jump on board an air-conditioned coach and be entertained with commentary from your driver/guide. After passing through the 1.2-kilometer-long Homer Tunnel, descend into Milford Sound. Here jump on board a boat to cruise along the fjord. Take in the famous sights, like the uniquely-shaped Mitre Peak and the glacier-scarred rock. Keep an eye out for marine life like dolphins, seals, and penguins too. The fjord is dotted with waterfalls that tumble through the valleys and crash into the sound far below, making the scenery in Milford Sound spectacular, rain or shine.

Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

4. Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

Join a guided day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound: the crowning glory of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, and Homer Tunnel. Enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and to spot the Kea bird. Travel through the mind-blowing Homer Tunnel, emerging as the valley descends sharply down to Milford Sound, with its hundreds of waterfalls cascading into the crystal clear waters beneath. At Milford Sound, take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close to nature and wildlife. Onboard your cruise you will have up-close views of thousands of waterfalls, Mitre Peak, as well as local wildlife, providing you with hundreds of amazing photo opportunities along the way. Following your cruise you will begin the return journey back to Queenstown, stopping again in Te Anau for a quick break. At the end of the day, your guide will drop you back to your Queenstown accommodation, or you can opt to upgrade to a scenic, one-way flight back from Milford instead. Choose this option for the ultimate view over the mountains and region during your return journey.

Te Anau: Milford Sound Bus, Cruise, Observatory, and Lunch

5. Te Anau: Milford Sound Bus, Cruise, Observatory, and Lunch

Set off on a day trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound and enjoy a more intimate and in-depth experience of Milford Sound. Discover the native wildlife, towering waterfalls, and majestic mountains of the fiord on an intimate cruise on a smaller boat. Journey through spectacular landscapes as your experienced, local bus driver provides engaging and informative commentary. Enjoy short walks and photo stops along Milford Road. Arrive at Milford Sound and relax on a nature cruise with a freshly prepared picnic lunch onboard. Get within touching distance of impressive rock walls and up close to Stirling Falls. Your passionate skipper will share their local knowledge with lively and informative commentary. Visit Milford Sound Underwater Observatory along the way. Descend 60 steps down a spiral staircase into a spacious viewing chamber to discover the unique and beautiful environment hidden under the surface of Milford Sound. Cruise back to the Milford Sound Visitor Centre to re-join the bus for the return journey to Te Anau.

Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

6. Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Leaving Queenstown, travel around Lake Wakatipu with amazing views of "The Remarkables" Mountain Range with some stops to take fantastic photos. Then, enter Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, Hollyford River, Falls Creek, the Darran Mountains, and Homer Tunnel. Next, board your cruise on a small boat for an informative and personal tour of Milford Sound. Get closer to the wildlife and nature, including the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. See massive rock faces rising hundreds of meters out of the sea and waterfalls cascading from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, an iconic steep triangular peak, rising high up above the reflective waters. As day 1 comes to a close, enjoy an overnight stay in Te Anau where you can have dinner at a local restaurant or take an evening stroll around the lake. Day 2: Start Day 2 with pickup from your hotel and first visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see some of the rarest birds in the country, including the Takahe and Kaka. Visit your first Lord of the Rings attraction at the Dead Marshes and Rainbow Reach. Enjoy a viewpoint overlooking The Dead Marshes from an elevated position. At Rainbow Reach a cable bridge over the Waiau River, known as The River Anduin in the movie series leads you into the forest and Kepler Track. Next, explore the shores of Lake Manapouri and hear more about its history. Have a quick break at one of the local coffee shops before heading to the Mavora Lakes, which is one of the most famous LOTR sites in the region. After some free time here, continue back to Te Anau where you can take part in some more optional activities, with the final drop-off in Queenstown in the early evening.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Cruise and Scenic Drive

7. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Cruise and Scenic Drive

Depart from Queenstown and travel to Milford Sound for a cruise of the fjord. Your driver will share their extensive knowledge of the area as your drive down the picturesque Milford Road. See local natural landmarks, such as Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, and the famous Eglington Valley. On your cruise, head past the iconic Mitre Peak and sail past St. Annes Point Lighthouse. Enjoy commentary from your skipper as you pass the mighty Lady Bowen Falls, Lion Mountain, Copper Point, Seal Rock, Stirling Falls, and Fairy Falls. Head out into the Tasman Sea and keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun, pods of dolphins, or rare Fjordland Crested Penguins that can be found seasonally within the region. Keep warm with complimentary tea and coffee in the lounge and take in the scenery through expansive windows. Venture onto the outdoor viewing decks to breathe in the pristine alpine air. Head back to Queenstown with some photo stops along the way.

The Catlins: Sea Kayak Tour to Nugget Point Lighthouse

8. The Catlins: Sea Kayak Tour to Nugget Point Lighthouse

Kayak along the coastline and in between the rocky islets while spotting the rare and endangered wildlife that inhabits this area. Watch the fur seal colony as they play between the water and rocky shore. Marvel at the albatross, if it comes in close, and scan the sky for the vast number of sea birds flying above. The sea lions may roar below you while a dolphin porpoise or a blue penguin darts by. From the wave-eroded rocks referred to as ‘The Nuggets’, see the envious visitors high above at the Nugget Point Lighthouse before journeying back to the historical launching bay.

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What people are saying about Otago

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 220 reviews

From start to finish this trip was awesome. The plane was a special experience flying just above the mountains in a 12 seater plane with fantastic views on all sides. Milford sound boat was equally impressive with beautiful waterfalls and great commentary along the way and great sights to see. Price was also affordable. Would definitely recommend this trip.

The flight was brilliant, well worth it and far better than the bus or car. The views were amazing!! Great pilot and very informative. Cruise was brilliant as well - cannot fault a thing. We are going to do the Milford Sound - flights and Cruise - again with True South Flights when there is snow and some more waterfalls. Recommend to anyone.

It was incredible. Our pilot Luke was very personable and a good guy - he let us take turns riding in the front - going up to the mountains and over the top was breath taking - such an incredible experience. Landing on the beach and the glacier was awesome. We were all buzzing. Best adventure we have ever done. Highly recommend it

We had the best time Flight with Elliot, who took special care and attention pre flight and gave us great insight into the area during our journey to and from Milford sound. The cruise on the sound was also fantastic, just enough to capture all the great features and falls available. All round well worth recommending

Bloody amazing , i would do it again tomorrow, it was my number one on my NZ bucket list