Friday, 3 April 2009

Milford Sound

Last Sunday I flew to Queenstown to meet up with Dave, Brian and Carol who had been enjoying a trip down the Sth Island from earlier in the week. It was a great day for a flight down that way and I got to see Mount Cook up close and personal on the flight. It was fantastic to be up so close to it and looking across (rather than up) at the peak in so much detail. Beautiful.

After meeting up with the guys in the afternoon and doing some browsing we headed to Te Anau where we were to spend the next two nights. Before leaving Queenstown we spent some time in the I-Site organising our respective trips to Milford Sound the next day. The three of them were keen to get some kayaking in. I wasn't. I admit that kayaking is a wonderful to get up close and personal with the Sounds (yes I know it's a fjord!), the waterfalls, seals etc but I did the kayaking thing three years ago. I don't like being on something that seems so unstable as a kayak (i.e. something other than a real proper boat) so I was happy to have done the kayaking once and to not necessarily repeat it... and it was nothing to do with the get up that I worse the last time around... honest!
Ready For Kayaking!

It's a 2 hr drive from Te Anau to Milford Sounds so with the others leaving at 6am Sunday morning and not being expected back until 3:30pm at the earliest I decided to plan a Milford Sound excursion of my own (one that wouldn't require me getting up at 5:30am). I signed up for a "Scenic tour and intimate nature cruise" with Awesome. This involved a much more respectable pick up time of 9:30am where I would be ferried out to Milford Sound in a nice large air conditioned coach with some photo stops at places such as Eglinton Valley (visited 3 years back),
Eglinton Valley

and Mirror Lakes (large pond) to name but two.
Reflected Mountains

Once we got to Milford I reapplied my insect repellant in an effort to deter my ardent admirer, the sandfly and boarded a lovely boat for my 2.25 cruise around the Fjord. I couldn't get over the size of some of the cruise boats in the Sounds... huge with a couple of hundred people getting on. I think that there were maybe about 15 on my boat. Admittedly the boat could handle more than that and I'm sure the operators wouldn't have minded a few more but I was happy with it. It wasn't the clearest day in Milford on Sunday (i.e. it was very cloudy) but at least it wasn't raining. Milford Sound is really very beautiful...
Milford Sound

with waterfalls all over the place
Milford Sounds Waterfall

We even got to drink some of the water... and I got wet but it was all great fun. Near the end we saw some seals but even more exciting we saw a school of dolphins which we watched for about 10 minutes. I was snapping away taking photos when I realised that I wasn't just watching them and enjoying it so at that point I stopped and took it in. It was fantastic :)
Dolphin School

I could bore you with lots of details of the history of the building of the road to Milford Sounds (there is only one) and the fact that one particular mile of that road took 7 years to build.... luckily it wasn't all that slow! Oh and the Homer tunnel about 20 mins from the sounds/fjord itself which took 20 years to build. They basically just blasted through the mountain to make a tunnel. But I won't. I'll just finish with what an amazing and beautiful national park it is...

No comments: