Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With this in mind, we want to let you know what we are doing to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. Please note we can operate at Level 1 or 2 with extra measures in place to keep staff and customers safe.

The following are measures currently in place:

  • No staff or customers are allowed to work/kayak who have COVID-19 symptoms or who need to be in isolation/ quarantine for any reason. For more details on COVID-19 symptoms/prevention, visit:

  • Contact tracing measures in place.

  • Physical distancing for staff and customers - keeping 1m or more distance from others.

  • Extra hygiene and cleaning practices in place to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and customers.

  • Face-covering requirements for Level 2 - Everyone is encouraged to wear a face covering and keep 2 metres distance from others you don’t know. Face coverings may be worn by staff and customers at any alert level. (Customers are required to provide their own.) 
    All staff and customers are required to wear a mask if physical distancing is not possible or when indoors - you are encouraged to wear a face covering during our indoor safety briefs, on our water-taxi-assisted kayak trips or in our vehicle during the DAY SAFARI trip. 

What does this mean for you? 

In line with the NZ Ministry of Health guidelines, it is not appropriate for staff or customers to kayak with us during this time: 

  • If they have travelled internationally in the past 14 days (with exception of Australia during an established Trans-Tasman Bubble. New Zealand Government COVID-19 Rules, Restrictions and Conditions permitting).
  • If they have had close contact with someone who is suspected/confirmed to have the COVID-19 in the past 14 days 
  • If they are feeling unwell and/or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. 

If you suspect you may have symptoms of COVID-19 please contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453. For more details on COVID-19 symptoms/prevention, visit:

If you have an upcoming booking with us and any of these conditions apply to you, or if the travel restrictions affect you, please contact us via email. To help us serve those with the most urgent needs, we request that you only call us if your booking is in the next 7 days

We will continue to respond promptly to any changes to ensure our staff and customers remain safe and will endeavour to get you out on the water if we can! 


Deepwater Basin

Rosco's Milford Kayaks - Departure Location

This is where you will meet your guide and begin your trip. Look out for the green tent, the yellow kayaks and your Rosco's guide at the end of Deepwater Basin Road!

Deepwater Basin Road
Milford Sound
Fiordland National Park 9679
New Zealand

Please note: Milford Sound is 4+ hours' drive from Queenstown and 2+ hours' drive from Te Anau, road and weather conditions permitting, so give yourself plenty of time to get here - or book yourself on our Day Safari and let us do the driving for you! 

Click here to view a map of the departure location. 

If you have any problems before you leave, give us a call.
FREEPHONE (inside NZ): 0800 476 726
Phone: +64 (0)3 249 8500

Please be aware that there is no phone reception once you leave Te Anau and enter Fiordland National Park.


We kit you out with all the specialist paddling gear you need, including a buoyancy aid, spray skirt, spray jacket, thermals, a fleece, poggies (like gloves but better), a dry bag for your camera... and, of course, a quality double sea kayak with a foot-operated rudder!


The essentials:

  • Camera (no drones - see FAQs below)
  • Water bottle
  • Food/high-energy snacks
  • Personal medication
  • Soft shoes or sandals
  • Swimsuit/underwear

Optional extras:

  • Rain jacket
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat & sunglasses


You must be at least 8 years old (min. weight 25kg) to sea kayak with us, and 16 years old to take one of our water taxi assisted trips. 

That said, this can still be too young for some of the longer/harder paddles, so you may be moved to a more suitable trip on the day. Our guides use their discretion, based on years of experience, to assess younger paddlers' ability and weather conditions and match you up with the most appropriate trip on the day. Proof of age may be requested before your trip commences. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver/guardian on all of our trips.


Trip departure times may vary from those advertised - make sure you check your booking prior to arrival. Rosco's Milford Kayaks reserves the right to cancel or change any part of any kayaking trip or the Day Safari road trip from Te Anau. This could be due to, but not limited to, adverse sea, river, road or weather conditions. 

Note: If we cancel a kayak trip due to such considerations, we will give you a full refund; if we cancel the kayak portion of the Day Safari, we will substitute a boat cruise and provide a partial refund.

If YOU make a cancellation at least 48 hours in advance, you will receive a full refund. No refund will be given in the event of the following:

  • Less than 48 hours' notice given.
  • No show or late for trip departure.
  • Staff deem a client not suitable to participate due to sea sickness, ill health or intoxication.
  • Staff deem a client not suitable to participate due to a lack of kayaking ability / experience / physical fitness / age.

Note: All our trips are smoke, vape, alcohol and drug free.


Sea kayaking in Milford Sound is characterised by remoteness, rapidly changing weather and water conditions, cold water and in many cases limited kayak landing sites. Your guide will provide you with a pre-trip safety briefing, paddling instruction and ongoing safety management. Clients must follow the guide’s instructions and adhere to safety requirements. Anyone under the age of 16yrs must be accompanied by their caregiver.

Sea kayaking and associated activities have inherent risks and can be dangerous. Before your trip, your guide will request you sign a form to evidence your understanding of the following Terms & Conditions, including a medical release:


I/We release and indemnify Milford Sound Sea Kayaks Ltd and its employees from any liability:

1. In the case of an accident or accidents involving personal injury.

2. For the loss of or damage to personal property taken on a trip or stored in our vehicles while on our trips.

3. For the loss of or damage to personal property left in storage at our base.

I/We authorise Milford Sound Sea Kayaks Ltd to use any photographic video or digital images depicting me/us for any promotions, advertising or publicity or any other purpose associated with its business activities 


I/We request Milford Sound Sea Kayaks Ltd to render first aid and seek such medical assistance or means of evacuation as they may find necessary.

I/We undertake to pay all charges and accept all consequences that may be associated with such medical treatment or evacuation undertaken.


All our trips are English speaking. You must have a basic understanding of English in order to follow our guides' safety instructions.

Do you get sea sick?

If it’s a yes, then we strongly recommend bringing a sea sickness remedy with you and taking as directed - before and, if needed, during your trip. The difference between really enjoying your kayaking experience or not can be as simple as being prepared. ALL of our kayak trips are on the sea, and have the potential to be affected by sea conditions. Note that our outer fiord trips (Morning Glory, Afternoon Delight, Twilight Classic, Stirling Sunriser) have conditions that are more affected by swells. If you need to be picked up from a trip and transported back to our base using our water taxi, there will be a flat fee of $50 NZD charged per kayak. Please take this into consideration when booking any of our kayak tours. 


Check out our FAQs below or get in touch!

Is sea kayaking Milford Sound for me?

If you’re keen to escape the crowded tour boats and really get amongst nature with a local guide then YES! We welcome first-time paddlers and pros alike! With several totally different adventures to choose from, there’s a trip to suit everyone.

How many people do you take in your groups?

Our groups are always small - usually six to eight paddlers with a local guide - so it’s a good idea to book early to avoid missing out.

Can I rent a kayak to explore Milford Sound by myself?

Nope. Unfortunately, our concession to operate in Milford Sound does not allow for rental options.

Which trip is right for me?

That will depend on the adventure you are considering! We have a range of trips available to suit every level of fitness and kayaking ability. Our paddle rating indicates how easy or tough each trip can be. Make sure to read the full trip descriptions. Spaces are limited, so please choose with care - we cannot refund you if your guide deems you unsuitable to paddle.

How fit do I need to be?

If you are in good health and have completed a few of NZ's half-day hikes, you should be sweet! Kayaking is a physical activity so it will require some effort at times - that's why we have a variety of trips to suit everyone. Any pain is soon rewarded with spectacular views and a memorable adventure!

If you have any physical conditions you are concerned about (injuries, medical conditions, poor swimming ability/confidence, general fitness, pregnancy), please disclose these to your guide prior to your trip departure. 

Please get in touch if you’re still unsure which trip is for you or if you have any physical conditions you are concerned about.

Can I kayak if I'm pregnant?

We can't guarantee that kayaking while pregnant at any time will be safe for you and your baby, so you do so at your own risk.

However, if you are active and normally kayak, there should be no issues, given an uncomplicated pregnancy.

Please observe the following:

  • You must disclose your condition to your guide prior to your trip departure.
  • You must fit our kayak equipment comfortably in order to participate. 
  • If the guide deems you unsuitable for the trip and weather conditions on the day, the Operator reserves the right to alter, rebook or cancel your trip.
  • If you are beyond 28 weeks, you must have a letter/certificate from your medical professional stating it is safe for you to kayak, confirming your pregnancy dates and that there are no complications.

Please note: You may feel uncomfortable at times and Milford Sound has limited beaches to stop on for stretching and toilet breaks.

What if the weather is bad?

Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority. Strong winds can cause us to cancel sea kayaking trips from time to time. Rain, on the otherhand, is “sweet as” and all trips will proceed as normal; just be prepared to witness some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls!

What time of year should I come?

Kayaking in Milford Sound is an amazing experience no matter what time of year you decide to try it. We’ve summed up some of the general differences in the seasons for you below:

Winter (April – October)

  • More settled weather conditions usually result in very calm water – ideal for exploring Milford from a sea kayak.
  • Fewer crowds make winter the premium time to visit Milford Sound if you prefer peace and quiet.
  • Fewer motor boats cruising Milford Sound mean less noise and more tranquility – just the splash of our paddles.
  • Mirror-like reflections of famous icons like mile-high Mitre Peak mean more photo opportunities.
  • Let's face it, fewer sandflies (often none at all) make your day in paradise even better!

Summer (November – March)

  • Long daylight hours allow us to operate a number of sunrise and twilight trips, which dodge the noise of tour boats, planes and helicopters.
  • More time in the day means you can fit in other Milford Sound experiences, such as walking on the famous Milford Track and various other tracks in the park. 
  • It's naturally busier in the summer, but that means we're able to offer a greater variety of trips - there's something to suit everyone!
  • The New Zealand Fur Seal and Fiordland Crested Penguin breed in the summer months, so you're more likely to have a rare wildlife encounter.
  • Sun's out - guns out! In the summer, you can wear fewer layers and dry off quicker when you get wet!

Will I see wildlife?

This entirely depends on the day! There are a variety of creatures who inhabit and visit Milford Sound, including seals, dolphins, penguins and even the occasional whale! However, it's entirely up to them whether they come and say hello, and many of the species are rare and endangered - we cannot guarantee a sighting.

Will I capsize?

Not usually – capsizes are fairly rare as our double kayaks are seriously stable. However, if you do capsize, your guide will be close by to help you back into your kayak quickly. You will also receive a full safety briefing prior to your trip commencing.

What is the difference between a boat cruise and a kayak trip on Milford Sound?

Hands down, there’s no comparison! Our sea kayaks go places the cruise boats only dream of! This allows you to get up close and personal with our world famous fiord and all of its inhabitants, minus the noise and crowds. That's one of the reasons Lonely Planet rates Rosco’s Milford Kayaks the best way to experience Milford Sound.

Why the early starts in summer?

Three of our trips start fairly early in the early summer (Nov – Feb): our Day SafariMorning Glory and Sunriser Classic. All of these trips seek to maximise quality paddling conditions on the water in relation to the length of the trip. Every fine, sunny day during summer months results in a strong day breeze developing mid to late morning which can make conditions fairly challenging. Our early starts make the most of the calmer water conditions for excellent photo opportunities and chances to spot wildlife.

Can I bring a drone on the trip?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring drones on our kayaking trips due to our location and NZ rules for safe drone use - we've seen several unsuccessful attempts made to launch from the water and these can be disruptive to the experience of other clients out with us.

If you wish to fly a drone at any other point during your visit to Milford Sound, this is possible but you must have prior permission to fly a drone in a National Park and next to a controlled airspace (Milford Sound has an airport). If you want to know more about where you can and can't fly your drone while on holiday, please check out the following websites:

Where can I stay in Milford Sound?

Milford Sound Lodge is the only accommodation in the heart of Milford Sound and provides a unique opportunity to stay in Fiordland National Park when most of the visitors have left in the evening. Learn about their range of accommodation options here

Along the road to Milford Sound, there are a choice of wonderful DOC camping sites (visit the DOC website for more information), as well as the Fiordland National Park Lodge, which has a variety of accomodation options.

There are also plenty of great places to stay in Te Anau - Milford Sound's closest town is two hours' beautiful drive away.

© Rosco's Milford Kayaks 2015