Touring New Zealand is stunning one day, spectacular the next. Words will never do justice to the awe-inspiring beauty of Mother Nature & photos can only capture a small window. To immerse yourself into untouched beauty such as we found here in Milford Sound is an experience not to be missed.
You can access this popular destination during your own self guided trip or, like us, take a day trip by coach from Queenstown. This latter option meant that it was a very early start to make the drive to our mid morning cruise. The weather was grey and wet as we departed and we had some concerns as to whether the road would be open. Thankfully, as we had a coffee stop in Te Anau, we received the green light to go all the way to Milford Sound. The drive itself is spectacular. The road starts by hugging Lake Wakatipu before traversing Red Tussock Conservation Area. There are some great stops for photos at the most picturesque sights, such as Mirror Lake, before the road then starts climbing to the Homer Tunnel. As we stopped at the tunnels entrance I was delighted to see a Kea bird, an alpine parrot native to this region, as it offered its avian inspection of the vehicles waiting to enter the tunnel. This bird is a highly intelligent & extremely mischievous creature & is one of my favorite birds. It was then onto the hair raising final descent to the Sound.
Thankfully the weather cleared just in time for us to board our cruise on the Cruise Milford boat. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery of this carved fjord marvelling at its towering peaks covered in virgin rainforest & cascading waterfalls. The captain places the vessel very close to the larger falls which allows those that wish to get as wet as they want. Most people tend to run from it, especially on a cold day like today. I however went towards it for how often do you get to take a shower in million-year-old water such as this run off from ancient glaciers?
After the cruise we went direct to the airfield for a scenic flight, in a propellor driven light plane, returning us to Queenstown. I will admit to having my eyes closed for most of the 40-minute flight with my companion acting as my photographer in the air. The view of the Southern Alps are spectacular though. We went alongside them as well as above them & they are a wondrous sight from the air. Coming down into Queenstown, with its own lake views, really was a spectacular way to finish the day.