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A Milford Sound character – 36 years service

Media Release 7 November 2006
For immediate use

A Milford Sound character – 36 years service

Greater numbers of independent travellers will now have a chance to experience Milford Sound onboard one of the fiord’s most interesting characters – the MV Friendship.

Some group bookings have been moved onto other vessels, freeing up space on Milford’s smallest cruise boat.

The MV Friendship is a local icon, being the first vessel used by a private operator to break the Government monopoly on tourism in Milford Sound back in 1970.

This year, the MV Friendship has had an extensive overhaul and has started the season looking better than ever. “Everyone is always pleased to see her come back into service after winter,” says Real Journeys overnight and nature cruise co-ordinator Gareth Larsen.

“We all feel very affectionate towards the old girl. The crew have remarked that she’s looking great and they think this is going to be the best season yet on the Friendship.”

Also known as the “Walnut” (because of the shape of her hull) or the “Friendlyship”, the MV Friendship has been lovingly maintained over the decades and is now the only wooden-hulled vessel still operating in Milford Sound.

Renowned for her welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, the vessel has a daytime capacity of just 60 (40 on wet days). Overnight cruises are limited to 12. The vessel’s small size allows passengers to experience close-up the fiord’s rain forest, soaring rock walls, and wildlife such as seals and dolphins.

Throughout the cruise, the crew of two provide an in-depth nature commentary, sharing stories of the fiord’s history and pointing out wildlife and other highlights encountered during the cruise.

The MV Friendship is the only vessel that allows overnight passengers to venture ashore and explore part of the world-renowned Milford Track – as well as offering the option of kayaking or exploring in a tender craft with a nature guide.


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