When I first visited Queenstown in 2012 the one thing that I didn’t get to see that I was really hoping to was the Milford Sound. I was determined to make sure it was somewhere I got to on the return visit this year. Queenstown being Queenstown and a constant distraction it was Saturday, day seven in the lake side town before we managed a trip. We were picked up at 7am by Jucy Bus Tours. We knew it was going to be a long day on the bus, but felt we would prefer to sit back and let someone else get us there than to drive ourselves for this one. The roads are known to be treacherous and frankly, we were ready for someone else to do the work. Oz the Aussie bus driver certainly did that; 5 hours drive each way for a total of 10 hours return is not a gig that I would be jumping at the bit for.
We made a few little stops on the way and Oz gave some really good commentary. A mixture of Maori history, early settler stories and a what’s what of Hollywood filming around the area. We did a few short walks on the way down to the Milford Sound which broke up the drive nicely. One of the most impressive scenes I saw was at the Mirror Lakes, the mountains reflecting in th water with a rainbow in the sky was beautiful.
Our boat cruise through the Milford Sound started at 1:30pm and was set to be an hour and a half of breath taking views. Set about 15km in from the Tasman Sea, with rainfall more often than not, Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world. With every rainfall dozens of temporary waterfalls are activated which can be anything from a steady trickle, to water gushing down the rockface. Due to the wind many of the waterfalls we saw would cascade over the edge of cliff faces only to be blown above the cliff face by the strength of the wind. We alternated between sitting outside on the boat and inside as depending on the strenth of the rain bearing wind outside. As we approached the mouth of the Tasman Sea I had to quickly grab onto a railing to prevent myself going overboard with the change in movement of the boat.
Despite it being rainy the weater was almost perfect for our adventure; the slight mist and low hanging clouds added to the beauty of the place, although I did find myself wishing that the cloud cover would lift just slightly so we could see the peaks of the mountain – especially on the return trip through the fiordland. It would have been great to have seen the top of Mitre’s Peak, which is the best known mountain in the area, aptly named so as it resembles the mitre that would be worn by a Christian bishop. Mother nature wasn’t quite on our side though and the peak remained elusive. Another fifteen to thirty minutes and I think we would have gotten our wish. Not to complain though, our friends Alanna and Reuben intended to make the trip a few days after us but didn’t get there at all due to storms and an avalanche blocking the way through to Milford Sound.
It was a long and tiring day but one that I can honestly say was 100% worth it. I’d make the trip again in a heartbeat, especially if I knew the weather was going to be different. I imagine it to be the kind of place that you discover something new every time you visit. The whole time we were there we just felt like we were living inside a post card. The place had a “Lost World” feel to it, you would almost believe your eyes if a some kind of prehistoric beast was to break it’s way through the foliage. Now I’ve seen it once, I just wish I had more than a day to experience it.
- New Zealand South Island: Cruising through Milford Sound (thewholeworldisaplayground.wordpress.com)
- Real Journeys Milford Sound (wildeadventure.wordpress.com)
- New Zealand 2: Wanaka Onwards (ozadventures2013.wordpress.com)
- Te Anau to Milford Sound – Te Anau, New Zealand (travelpod.com)
- Day 3: Fiordland Park/Milford Sound (julieburkhardt.wordpress.com)
- Life in Milford Sound 2nd Post (adijblog.wordpress.com)
- New Zealand – South Island Round Up (thelittlebackpacker.com)
- Queenstown, New Zealand (travelcoordinates.wordpress.com)