Milford Sound

Ok, so this post about the Milford Sound best go through. The drive from Te Anau to the Milford Sound is breathtaking. They say it is one of the best drives in the world and boy are they right. They say to allow for two hours to make the drive, it took me almost four. I stopped every couple of miles. I took tons and tons of pictures. Sheer cliffs, grassy lands and rivers and streams. The South Island is much drier than normal for this time of year, they have had quite a lack of rain this year. About half of the riverbeds and creeks I go by are dry. Apparently when it has been a rainy season there are waterfalls all around.

All along the way to the Sound there are stop offs, hiking trails and so many things to do. One of them is the Chasm. It is a short 20 minute walk to see a gorge. This gorge has been carved with this amazing blue green water. The rock has been worn down and looks like swiss cheese in places. It is quite a site. There was tons of water but if it has been a rainier season I imagine it would have been even more thunderous. It is worth the quick jaunt through the rainforest. It is right after the tunnel, which the name is escaping me right now, but there is only one and it is one way at a time.

The sound sort of appears all of a sudden. The Milford Lodge is on your left and there is a small sign and then bam you are in town ten minutes later. You have to park in the car park to the left, you can't go any further unless you are a bus. Once you park there is a short walk to the Port visitor center. The board walk goes all along the water and you have a beautiful view all the way. There is some construction going on right now, but it is more off to the side. The weather was cloudy but not foggy so Mitre peak and the other peaks were very visible. The view is actually pretty great right from the parking lot and the shoreline walk in the other direction of the port.

Once I got in the building I was greeted with five different tour companies running in the sound. I basically picked the one that was leaving next...five minutes later. It ended up being the longest one, which I was happy about, three hours long. They feed you lunch and let you go to the discovery center which is an underwater viewing aquarium. Southern Discoveries is the company, and the discovery center is their creation. You can see the fishes and coral and so many wonderful underwater things. I really enjoyed it. They also had some informational write ups that were pretty interesting too.

The tour itself was wonderful. The guide was so informative with the geeky type facts that I love. Being out in the actual sound which is actually not a sound at all it is a fjord, is fantastic. I think it was much more impressive than the famous view on shore. I mean that is great too, but the fjord is just so deep, and there are waterfalls on the cliffs, it's just great. You go out into the Tasman Sea and turn around and the guide said it was just about as peaceful as it ever gets. The people who named the sound of course named it wrong but it was too late to change it, so they named the whole area Fiordland, which they meant to spell like the Norwiegan way with the silent J but they spelled it wrong, ha.

When I got back from the boat ride it was about 3pm. I realized then that there was really no reason for me to stay over. The town has one cafe, one hotel, the port building and a small airport. The tours and kayaking and scenic stuff is pretty  much all there is. You can't hike too much around that area because of the tree avalanches that happen. I'm not exactly sure where the people who work there live. So you can easily do the whole trip in one day and then go back to Te Anau to sleep, but since I had already booked at the Milford Lodge I hit the cafe and then went to the Lodge.

It rained that night so the drive back the next day was rife with waterfalls where there has been none the day before. Spectacular!

Milford Sound

Milford Sound
Milford Sound
Discovery Center - Underwater at Milford Sound
Milford Sound Lodge
Drive back to Te Anau from Milford.