While we were in New Zealand, we went to Milford Sound for a day trip.
Milford Sound is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It has been judged the world’s top travel destination and called the eighth Wonder of the World.
One of the world’s most beautiful fjords, Milford Sound also holds the dubious honour of being the wettest place in New Zealand. On average, there are 186 days each year when rain falls, dumping almost seven metres of the stuff on anyone unlucky enough to time their visit badly. Although there is less rain during the winter months, there are still sixteen days a month of wet weather in any season. I’d read that the high rainfall totals led to spectacular waterfalls, and, when windy, dramatic updrafts of water.
Milford Sound is more than 3 hours away from Queenstown so we decided to book a tour rather than drive there on our own. It was an exciting journey for us with beautiful scenery ending with an amazing cruise.
The coach that we were on was perfectly suited for sightseeing in a place as dramatic as the Milford Road, with clear glass windows and roof. The bus stopped every once in a while so we could all take every picture possible on the way.
Our first stop was Te Anau, which is a lovely little village sitting on the edge of Lake Te Anau. At Te Anau we met up with the famous Milford Road, one of the great drives in the world. It’s quite a long lake, whose coast we followed for a while.
The next stop was Mirror Lakes, to take some great photos of the reflections of the mountains in the lake and we were very lucky that the water was so calm.
Our cameras were on constant work during the whole trip as all the places we saw were so beautiful that we wanted to capture every one of them.
Then, we stopped at the Chasm walk next which took us into the woods to a couple of bridges where we saw waterfalls that had done amazing things to the rocks around them—gouging holes and depositing tree trunks in holes in the rocks 20 ft. above the current flow.
We had a few other stops before we reached Milford Sound.
The road is quite challenging and I was glad we decided to get the tour rather than drive ourselves. We headed through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2 km long tunnel linking Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown, by piercing the Darran Mountain range at the Homer Saddle. You could tell it was dug by hand because there were pick marks on the side walls and on the roadway. It was pitch black inside the tunnel and a very different experience. Once we were out on other side, it was downhill with a windy zig zag road that takes you down to Milford Sound.
Finally, we reached Milford Sound and it was just beautiful and breathtaking. We had a boat waiting or us for the cruise. Arriving at Milford Sound’s boat dock, the sky was a deep blue and we took the opportunity to capture some amazing shots.
As soon as we boarded, we ate lunch as both of were starving. The sandwich and coffee tasted better with the spectacular view and a hungry tummy 🙂
The cruise started and the pilot informed us about the place and its history. We saw some seals sunning themselves on a rocky outcrop and some beautiful waterfalls along the way.
A couple of times the pilot ran the boat up very close to a waterfall, so those on the bow got sprayed and AS managed to get some really nice photos.
After almost 2 hours, our tour wound down and, we got on the bus and headed back to Queenstown happy with how our day went. It was an amazing day with some great memories for life.
Take care everyone,
M from nepaliaustralian
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