Queenstown Sightseeing cruises

Our most recommended Queenstown Sightseeing cruises

From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

1. From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

Join the TSS Earnslaw for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and enjoy plenty of time to explore a piece of living history. Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. Make your way to Steamer Wharf at Queenstown’s waterfront. Climb aboard the oldest working coal-fired passenger steamship in the southern hemisphere and feel free to explore. View the collection of historical photos in the small onboard museum and check out the skipper’s wheelhouse. Visit the engine room to feel the heat of the giant steam engines at work and see the stokers shovel coal into the glowing fireboxes. Soak in the dramatic mountain views surrounding Lake Wakatipu and relax at the cafe where you can enjoy a wine or beer and snacks are also available for purchase. 

Queenstown: Scenic Lake Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

2. Queenstown: Scenic Lake Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

Get a taste of New Zealand's farming lifestyle in an interactive way with this combo tour in Queenstown. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride across Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at a traditional farm for a comprehensive tour of its facilities and some morning or afternoon tea. Start with a scenic cruise, crossing Lake Wakatipu toward Walter Peak High Country Farm. Explore the decks, visit the steam room, or chat with the captain in the wheelhouse. Take advantage of the onboard cafe to purchase a drink or two. Arrive at Walter Peak and join the host for a farmyard tour. Get up close to sheep, deer, and highland cattle. Help feed the animals, watch a farm demonstration, and explore the lakeside gardens. Enjoy morning or afternoon tea, including delicious scones and muffins.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

3. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

Combine a flight and a cruise on Milford Sound on this excursion from Queenstown. Take in the area's outstanding natural beauty as you savor the sights from both air and water. Enjoy a pickup and transfer to the air hanger in Queenstown. Listen to informative commentary in English and marvel at the stunning views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls on the 40-minute flight. Upon landing, transfer to the Milford Sound Boat Terminal. Board in Milford Sound and experience 2 hours onboard an intimate vessel with English commentary by your skipper, and complimentary tea and coffee. Cruise to the mouth of the Tasman Sea, while enjoying views of waterfalls and marine life like fur seals, dolphins, and penguins. Next, board your scenic flight back to Queenstown. Take a different flight path from your outbound flight as you admire the spectacular views of Fiordland National Park. After the 40-minute journey back to Queenstown, enjoy complimentary transfer back to your accommodation.

Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

4. Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

Travel to Milford Sound for an extended nature cruise on a day trip from Queenstown. Experience one of the most beautiful drives in the world in the comfort of a state-of-the-art coach. After meeting at a central location in Queenstown, you'll board the luxury coach and journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu into rolling countryside through to Te Anau. Take a short break, then continue along the spectacular alpine route of the Milford Road. Enjoy photo stops and short walks along the way. Relax on an extended nature cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and admire the fiord’s wildlife, waterfalls and mountains along the way. A specialist nature guide will provide live informative commentary. You can also bring your own lunch or purchase snacks and drinks (cash only) on-board. Following the cruise, board the coach for your return journey to Queenstown that allows for bathroom breaks. Be dropped off back in Queenstown at around 7:45 PM.

Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

5. Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Cruise farther and see more on this 1.5-hour Queenstown scenic cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Remarkables, Bob’s Cove, Cecil Peak and Mt. Earnslaw from the comfort of the Spirit of Queenstown – an environmentally friendly and luxurious cruise boat. Take in panoramic views from the open top deck. Enjoy refreshments, snacks and lunch served in the café on board. Cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu as you enjoy entertaining commentary provided by the local skipper.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

6. 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.

Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

7. Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

Discover New Zealand's renowned Milford Sound on this tour from Queenstown. Take in the sighs in style aboard a Mercedes minivan equipped with Wi-Fi, bottled water, and large viewing windows. Expereince the stunning scenery of Milford Fjord on scenic cruise.  Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in Queenstown or central meeting points along the route. Enjoy plenty of stops along the way to Milford. Board a boat for a 2-hour cruise along the fjord, where you can feast your eyes on the spectacular sights and go under waterfalls. Allow your local guide to provide you with informative commentary while you absorb the lush surroundings views. Along the way, you'll see everything from cascading waterfalls, mirrored lakes, and awe-inspiring mountains to fur seals and dolphins.  Stop at a beech forest where you can take a leisurely stroll. Travel back to your hotel in Queenstown at the conclusion of your tour. 

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Boat Cruise

8. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Boat Cruise

Enjoy an exclusive sightseeing tour to the very best locations in Queenstown and the South Island of New Zealand. Discover New Zealand’s magnificent fiords, native forests, and glaciers, as well as the island's stunning native birdlife, seals, penguins, and dolphins. Embark on a scenic flight and admire the views of the fiord below. Hear insightful commentary about the region and the wildlife that inhabit it from your pilot guide. Soar above the Southern Lakes, Tutoko Glacier, and the Milford Fiord. After, if time permits, take a bush walk with your pilot to the cruise departure point. Learn more about your surroundings as you pass through the dense forest. Continue your sightseeing adventure on a relaxing cruise and see the fiord from the water. After the cruise, make your way back to the plane. Take an alternative return route to see even more highlights, including the famous Southerland waterfalls, and New Zealand's longest lakes, Te Anau and Wakatipu.

From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

9. From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

Visit Doubtful Sound on a full-day trip from Queenstown. Board a luxury bus and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through the rolling countryside to Manapouri. Enjoy informative commentary along the way from your driver. From Manapouri, cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Then board a coach to cross the alpine route of the Wilmot Pass, through some of Fiordland National Park’s most dense rainforest. On reaching Deep Cove, climb aboard a modern catamaran for a 2.75-hour cruise, exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. See waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and wildlife. Your knowledgeable nature guides will provide you with engaging and informative commentary throughout.  You'll be treated to the sound of silence when the vessel’s engines are turned off. Experience floating on the fiord, with only the rush of waterfalls and birdsong to break the silence. Bring your own lunch, or purchase snacks on board in the vessel’s cafes. If you would like to preorder a picnic lunch, feel free to contact the activity provider directly after booking. When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is especially dramatic. The scenery is spectacular, and you will stay dry and comfortable from your vantage point on the catamaran. At the end of your cruise, return over Wilmot Pass by coach and cruise across Lake Manapouri before the bus journey back to Queenstown.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise

10. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise

This coach trip includes a Milford Sound cruise aboard a comfortable, purpose-built cruise boat with optional lunch and refreshments. Enjoy multiple stops on your way to Milford Sound which makes the day even more amazing! When you arrive in Te anau - your first stop of the day - enjoy a toilet break and time to grab something from the cafe. They have great coffee, muffins, and snacks. Enjoy a stop at the mirror lakes, a beautiful 5-minute boardwalk through a rainforest, and other photo opportunities that make your journey to Milford Sound even more special.  On arrival at Milford Sound, you immediately proceed to the boat terminal, where your driver will give you your boat pass and direct you to your cruise boat. On boarding, make yourself comfortable in one of the saloons or catch the scenery from the decks. Milford Sound is famous for its waterfalls, and if it's raining it's even more spectacular. The boats nudge right up to the base of the waterfalls, often challenging visitors to fill a glass of water from the cascading plumes. This luxury tour already has reserved window seating for you - so no need to worry about getting a seat. On board feel free to buy yourself snacks and sandwiches from the cafe or treat yourself to a buffet lunch. The boats are often escorted by pods of dolphins, while seals bask on the rocks. Take in the stunning scenery while your skipper gets you as close as possible to the wildlife for some fantastic photos.  The cruise will take you out to the point where the fiord meets the open sea, and it is here at Anita Bay that the Maori collected their sacred Pounamu or Greenstone – prized for making tools, jewelry, and ornaments, and still a highly-valued stone today. 

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Frequently asked questions about Queenstown

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Queenstown?

The best day trips and excursions from Queenstown are:

Te Anau

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Other Sightseeing Options in Queenstown

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What people are saying about Queenstown

Absolutely worth every penny! We were lucky enough to have spectacular weather with sunshine and clear blue skies. The pilot, Andy, was fabulous with a smooth take off and landing. The views while crossing over the mountains and into Milford Sound were incredible. The bay cruise was also amazing with so many water falls it was hard to count. We also saw yellow bearded penguins and fur seals. The day could not have been better! And this method took a total of 4.5 hours versus 12 when driving out and back. Do it!

Milford sound itself is overhyped, comparing to other beautiful places we have been. The 45 mins drive way from Queenstown to Glenorchy is more scenic than Milford in our opinion. Nevertheless, our tour guide Mark from cheeky kiwi made our day. His knowledge in geology and environmental science plus his unique sense of humour energised our more than 4 hours drive to the Milford sound cruise point.

An awesome afternoon on the TSS Earnslaw - even had a lovely pianist (one of the passengers) playing live music on the trip back! A great piece of steamboat history and such a beautiful way to seen Queenstown

Well worthy of visiting in any day with any kind of weather! Such an amazing place, with great views along the way.

Although I thought $80 was pricey just for boat ride it was very enjoyable and worth taking.