Descend Dive are based in Milford taking guided dive trips into Milford Sound that offers a unique diving experience in this renowned world heritage marine reserve.
Descend Scuba Diving provide guided diving for all levels of experience from first time diver to experiencedprofessionals. Descend is committed to an approach of high safety and level of service to your experience to make for a fantastic, memorable day. Diving New Zealand’s Milford Sound / Piopiotahi marine reserve is an experience that can not be found any where else on Earth.
The Dive trips starts Milford Sound at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm at the Deepwater Basin road boat ramp and boat returns to shore by 2:00 pm
Unique to the Milford’s underwater world are sheer cliff faces, which provide for the most spectacular Fiord wall diving and a totally unique eco system of black coral trees. The coral trees have a stunning white appearance over a jet black skeleton and are normally only found in deep water trenches. Thanks to Milford’s heavy rainfall making for a mix of fresh and salt water on the surface with huge mountains casting their shadows over the waters, enough light is blocked to allow these beautiful coral trees to call Milford’s Piopiotahi marine reserve home.
Whilst diving you may also see dolphins, seals, sharks, eels, octopus, stingray, crayfish, nudibranch and over 150 different fish species.
Meet time: Milford Sound at 9:00 am at the Deepwater Basin road boat ramp.
Dive Trip Duration: 6 hours approx
Returns: 3:30 pm (1400 Hrs)
This tour is for qualified divers with confident buoyancy skills. Parts of our dives include wall diving in a group where these skills are important. If you are a freshly qualified diver and you are unsure about your buoyancy skills consider booking the first time diver experience.
The standard pricing includes high end scuba diving equipment and top quality 8mm wetsuits with under layers as standard, with drysuit rental and drysuit tuition / speciality course available as an upgrade. Nitrox upgrade and Nitrox specialty course available from 1st December 19. Both Drysuit and Nitrox specialities can be achieved in one day during the time frame of the dive tour ( with some personal study, materials supplied ).
Meet time: Milford Sound at 9:00 am at the Deepwater Basin road boat ramp and boat returns to shore by 4 pm.
Dive Trip Duration: 6 hours approx
Returns: 3:30 pm (1400 Hrs)
N.B. We generally take a maximum of 2 first timers per trip
Unqualified divers are able to do a single private dive directly taken care of with one of our instructors. You are able to scuba dive to a maximum depth of 12 metres dependent on personal confidence during the dive. You must be a very confident swimmer and have good medical fitness. Milford Sound is a fantastic opportunity to experience scuba diving for the first time. If you are diving in Milford you are seeing all of the Fiord’s beauty and wonder..above and below.. Make friends with the fish, get your photo taken with the black coral trees and feel the amazing sense of weightlessness that only a diver knows. The total Milford experience. We generally take a maximum of 2 first timers per trip.
Your dive trip starts at Deepwater Basin with a thorough briefing before we board our boat, a stable 7 metre catamaran ‘Pacific Runner’ purpose built for diving with an extended dive platform with drop down ladder making it easy for entering or exiting the water.
‘Descend Scubadiving’ provide top quality diving equipment with warm 8mm semi dry suits, under vests, gloves, hoods and booties and you will be thoroughly briefed on any unfamiliar equipment. We provide everything you will need for your dive on Milford Sound.
We will be cruising Milford Sound for approx 6 hours with two dives on sites that are chosen depending on divers experience level, weather and wind direction. Most likely we will dive in the marine reserve on the Northern side of Milford Sound taking the time to enjoy these majestic surroundings, seeing seals, penguins and occasionally we may meet a pod of dolphings along with numerous species of birdlife birdlife.
Whilst diving Milford sound you will experience many species of fish and the opportunity to see the legendary black coral trees (actually they are white) that can be as tall as 6 mtrs high, along with red, white and numerous other soft corals and a chance to see marine life completely unique to the area of Fiordland that is regarded as world class diving area.
Hot drinks, soup and cookies are provided for your surface interval between the dives with gourmet sandwiches for lunch, whilst getting a close look at some of the thundering high waterfalls that plummet down the steep mountain faces of the Sound. We can even let you off the boat onto land for a short walk through native bush to a freshwater pool where you can experience one of the Fiords largest waterfalls.
Our tour price includes all equipment rental including
8mm solafx Aqualung wetsuit with attached hood, 3mm undervest, socks, booties and gloves
Scubaforce backplate wing style BCD and high quality regulators, spg
Jetfins, Mask, Computer, handsfree torch
Our most popular upgrade is renting a Scubaforce NST drysuit and drysuit training. We provide drysuit tuition as part of the tour so you can enjoy the days diving by increasing comfort, warmth and add the extra learning experience to maximise your great Southern diving adventure. Drysuit options are as follows:
Drysuit rental only, for if you hold a drysuit certification already (+ NZ$ 50 )
Drysuit rental plus tuition for drysuit use only ( + NZ$ 100)
Drysuit rental plus tuition, inclusive PADI drysuit specialty course and certification (+ NZ$ 250)
Arriving by car is the easiest option. Plenty of parking is available at our meeting spot in Deepwater Basin.
Drive Time from Queenstown is 4 hours one way
Drive Time from Te Anau is 2 hours one way
Drive Time from Invercargill is 4 hours one way
Divers staying in Te Anau without their own transport will need to organise your own shuttle Transport that operates from Te Anau’s lake front departing at 6-30 am for the scenic road trip into Milford via the scenic Fiordland National Park passing through spectacular forests, soaring mountain peaks, passing reflected mirror lakes and numerous waterfalls along the way and plentiful birdlife and in particular the local cheeky Kea parrots.
Bus connections available:
For our 8am start time you can book transport with Trips and Tramps from Te Anau to Milford Sound in the morning at 6:30am, arrives at around 8:15am in Milford Sound which is fine for our meet times. You can then go back to Te Anau after the dive tour with Tracknet who have a departure at 5pm or with Intercity who have a departure at 3:25pm from Milford Sound with a stop in Te Anau which also continues back to Queenstown.
If you come from Queenstown you will need to take a bus the previous day to Te Anau, overnight in Te Anau and then take the above option back to Queenstown or alternatively come to Milford Sound the day beforehand, stay in the Milford Sound Lodge and then return with Intercity the following day back to Queenstown.
The Milford Sound Lodge is the only accommodation in Milford Sound which offers riverside chalet accommodation, backpacker-style rooms and a campervan park. The PioPio Cafe and Restaurant offers dining from breakfast till dinner. Books out well in advance so reservations are essential.
Gunns camp nestled in the Hollyford valley is the next closest accommodation option with about a 1 hour 10 minute drive away. Gunns camp offers rustic accommodation including cabins, backpacker rooms, and open space for caravans and camping. History is truly alive with a museum attached to the camp and wood-fired showers and off the grid solar and generator electricity.
Cascade Creek is the closest DOC campground to Milford Sound which has 120 non-powered tent sites and is about a 50 minutes drive from Milford Sound.
Knobs Flat Accommodation offers eco-based accommodation in the Fiordland National Park including studio units and campsites. Knobs flat is about a 1 hour drive from Milford Sound.
Te Anau is the closest town to Milford Sound and offers a multitude of accomodation options including a supermarket and many shops and restaurants. The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is around 2 hours.