A new kayaking trip in one of the world's most majestic places has been running well for New Zealand tourism company Southern Discoveries.
The operator's scenic kayaking trip is in sheltered Harrison Cove, within Piopiotahi-Milford Sound.
Trips run from the Milford Discovery Centre and the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory, which Southern Discoveries refurbished and reopened last year. The kayaking adventure caters for a maximum of 12 people at a time, with experienced guides leading the way.
"This is the perfect fun activity for people who want to have a short, gentle paddle in the calm, sheltered waters of Harrison Cove," says John Robson, Southern Discoveries general manager.
The guides talk about the flora and fauna visible from the kayaks, the rock formations that descend into the water and the soaring peaks that surround Milford Sound. "No experience is required – and just a moderate level of fitness," Robson says.
Trips depart four times a day from the Milford Discovery Centre, for a "total Milford experience" lasting between 3 and 4 1/2 hours.
A new, single-storeyed kayak facility sits beside the Discovery Centre and the observatory, joined by an elevated walkway.
The kayak pontoon features a specialist platform, which lowers and raises passengers into and out of the water while in their boats.
"Many people when they come here wish they could spend more time on the water in this World Heritage Park. This experience allows people to explore the cove and its unique views and features from the water," Robson says. "Many international visitors in particular have never experienced such a pristine and rugged environment."
Trips do not venture out into the main sound used by sightseeing vessels.
AT A GLANCE
Cruise-Discovery Centre-Kayak combos depart at 9am, 10.15am, 11.45am and 3pm daily. The complete trip takes about 4½ hours, including about an hour in kayaks. Prices range from $169 to $189. For bookings and further information, see southerndiscoveries.co.nz.