Travelling New Zealand’s South Island 4 – To Milford Sound – by Rob Shackleford
Other Travelling NZ Blogs
|1 – Christchurch to Oamaru
|2 – To Dunedin
|3 – To Bluff
|4 – To Milford Sound
|5 – Queenstown and the Wild West Coast
|6 – Arthur’s Pass to Lake Tekapo
|7 – Mt Cook
|8 – Kiwi Food
|9 – Faces of NZ – 1
|10 – Faces of NZ – 2
Leaving Bluff in the far south we drove to the west of New Zealand’s South Island. This was exciting as we were to head to the Southern Alps and their seemingly endless row of snow-capped mountains made particularly famous in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.
This part of the country is also typified by the glacial lakes, valleys and fjords created by ancient glacial action. We were destined to see some of the most beautiful vistas in the country. We managed to do some hiking, where we explored a good slice of the Kepler track, with the lower reaches showing off New Zealand’s dense rainforest and, with the creeks and mosses, a plethora of strange fungus.
In the island’s south west lies Fjordland National Park, which includes Doubtful Sound and the iconic Milford Sound. We made our way to Lake Manapouri and stopped to see the expansive lakeviews, followed by a picturesque drive to Te Anau along the beautiful, pale blue glacier lakes rimmed by a backdrop of rugged, snow-topped mountains that hulk like giants. This is a place where WOW is a most common expression, where the view catches the throat and almost brings a tear to the eye. We always believe that when the wow goes out of your travel, it is time to go home. There was no chance of that here.
In Te Anau we got a real feel for the tourism industry in the NZ Alps, but fortunately for us we chose a time when visitor numbers were low. We stayed in an excellent guest house operated by a Chilean couple who also own a restaurant. Te Anau was pretty and quaint, with an overabundance of restaurants targeting Chinese tour groups. It was a nice place to walk under the stars.
The next day was our trip to the iconic Milford Sound, seen on almost every image gallery for New Zealand tourism. The drive is spectacular, but it was so cold. We decided to stop for a couple of Spanish backpackers who shivered by the side of the road. We soon made friends and we shared what is one of the most spectacularly scenic drives in the world.
Alas, my words are like our photographs. No superlatives can possibly grab you by the heart like when you are there. To make it even better, we enjoyed pristine blue skies and air so clear you could see forever.
Milford Sound is a tiny town with few facilities other than a fairly large cruise terminal. We bought a cruise and, with our new friends we headed out into the incredible Milford Sound. It was not crowded and was sunny and calm. I would suggest it was a perfect day. Cruising the still waters to stare up at the peaks and waterfalls around us was as good as a cruise can get for me. We saw seals and the boat pulled in to a couple of waterfalls that cascaded. There was also excellent commentary with the Maori guide who explained about his people’s efforts to maintain and restore the environment there.
To cruise Milford Sound is one of those tourist activities you simply must do.
Other of our Travelling with Traveller Inceptio Blogs
|India by Royal Enfields 1
|Britain by House Sits
|Faces of Scotland
|House Sit Bath
|Faces of England
|House Sitting UK
|Faces of Wales
|Visit to London
Rob and Deb live at Burleigh Heads, on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Deb is a yoga teacher and administrator par excellence.
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