Monday, 2 December 2013

Day 27 Milford Sound

After waking up bright and early, or rather just early since none of us were feeling particularly bright, we headed down to the pick up site at 6:45 to catch our 5hour coach to Milford Sound!

We debated a lot about whether to drive there ourselves, in the end the cost, both of time and petrol… to get there outweighed the benefits of catching a coach. Plus accommodation was ridiculous. So we opted to do one of the coach-cruise-coach options which is a 12ish hour day trip… and it was an experience. I seemed to conveniently forget all about my travel sickness up until we’d been on the coach half an hour and I realized the company had not only lied about the coach having a glass roof but about the coach having a toilet on board… So all in all most of the scenery acted as a distraction while I attempted to retain some decorum…

Aside from that minor hiccup Milford Sound was as beautiful as everyone, and the guidebooks, say. It’s so popular mainly because it’s the most accessible fiord in Fiordland but regardless of that I’m sure Miter Peak would attract attention however inaccessible it was.
First stop was at one of the many ‘mirror lakes’ this one was incredibly peaceful and surprisingly, considering how dense the bush was and how close we were to the lake, there were barely and mosquitos or sandflies!

Next stop was at a mountain stream where we were encouraged to fill up our water bottles! We were only just getting into the national park and already I could see the legendary Fiordland waterfalls. After a heavy rain, or while it’s raining, entire mountain sides spring waterfalls everywhere, and even on a hot sunny day, like today, there were hundreds of beautiful falls along the way

 Again.. I don't really know what Queenstown has done to my hair.. 

 Pretty spectacular right? 

 some of the constant waterfalls which always trickle down the mountain sides - we saw much bigger ones later on!
Another icy blue stream where we could drink the freezing water 
We saw a Kia! I’ve been hoping to see one in the wild since Franz Josef when I read about them as they’re apparently really intelligent and are often mischievous with a desire for destroying car windscreen wipers! They were bigger than I’d first expected too

After 5, long but beautiful, hours we got the mini harbor where it was straight from the coach onto the ship for 2 hours.  
 Mitre Peak from the dock
 One of the massive waterfalls 
 The first lot of seals we saw just lounging around, soaking up some rays
 The fiord was originally missed on nearly all maps because when sailing around the coast it just looks like a small bay, it was only discovered when a ship was caught in a storm and sought shelter

 More sleepy seals :)
 The landscape was stunning with steep mountains rising straight out of crystal clear water 

 One of my favourite parts of Milford Sound, where a river leads back into the mountains 

 At one point the driver decided to drive the boat into the waterfall, so we got completely drenched, I got a pretty amazing photo too 
The tour was ridiculously expensive for what it actually was and it was a truly manic 12hrs with no time to spare between the 5hr coach ride, the 2hr cruise and the final 5hr coach. Needless to say everyone just fell asleep on the ride back as we were all just worn out. It was truly beautiful though and it was good to now be able to accurately compare fiords to sounds as they're often mistaken for each other. I can certainly see why it's such a popular attraction as it was stunning. 

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