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New Zealand Trip Day 6 – Milford Sound and Fiordlands

Milford Sound and Fiorlands

One of the “must sees” if you tour the South Island, and especially if you make it to the west, if the Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. There are several other spectacular sites and fiords to see if you’ve got the time, but if you’re only rushing through like typical bloody tourist viewing the world through your camera (i.e. us) then a boat tour on the Milford sound is obligatory.

And worth it.

It’s about a two hour drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound. It rains 180 days a year there, so having good weather is unusual. We had okay weather, cold and cloudy but at least it wasn’t pissing down rain. We were dressed for it, so it was actually pleasant enough. The ride gave Brenda a chance to play silly-buggers in the back seat with Simon and Sue:

We stopped at Mirror Lake along the way, just ahead of two tour buses. In the ten minutes we were there I heard German, Slavic, Scandinavian and Japanese languages being spoken by the small handful of people there. Just goes validate the tourism glut the area experiences.

Of course the scenery is indescribable and even photos do a poor job, but I’ll let the rest of this blog speak for itself (sort of – can it do that?).

We stopped at “The Chasm” once again just ahead of tour buses, this time five (5!) of them. Had a nice peaceful stroll. Along the path we got to look down on some fern trees, a perspective you don’t often get:

 

The Chasm is virtually impossible to capture on film. The waterfall carves smooth swells in the rock every which way:

After The Chasm we arrived at the Milford Sound. We had a picnic lunch before we got on the boat where we were innudated by Sand Flies – worse than mosquitoes and immune to any known repellant. Here’s a picture of me with Mitre Peak – one of the tallest mountains in the world to rise directly from the sea floor. The second photo is me swatting sand flies:

 

On the boat. Here’s Jean at the start of the tour:

We went along the south bank of the sound to start. The weather was ever changing, but mostly cloudy with a mix of fog. Here’s a view of Stirling Falls that emerges from a classic glacier carved valley (We’ll see this water fall later too):

We got to see some seals and even a dolphin up close:

All the way out of the Sound now you. There’s the Tasman Sea or as I termed it, the Can’t Sea:

Brenda, apparently just after getting goosed by the fellow next to her:

On the way back to port we stopped for a closer look at Stirling Falls. For me this was the highlight of the trip as we got within 20 or so feet of the falls. To get the full experience you’re going to get wet, which doesn’t allow for full effect photo:

Simon stayed inside and took this photo. He’d had the full effect before:

Jean and Jon at the falls:

Brenda just after the falls:

 Heading into port we took the “Wear in the World” Blazer pose: 

And here’s Simon and Sue, our terriffic and generous hosts for the weekend:

Finally we got back home, but the day was not yet over:

After we got back we went to a very nice movie theater built by an entrepreneurial helicopter ride pilot. He produced a rather spectacular half hour film of all the sites of the area either by hiking or helicopter. It took him ten years to gather all the footage and it accompanied by music composed to match the film. All very worthwhile viewing and only available for viewing at his theater – or on DVD for $35, we accept cash and all major credit cards.

The theater had huge comfy chairs and a place to set your beer, similar to the McMeniman’s pubs in Portland.

Then home for another excellent home cooked dinner of salmon, mussels and assorted other faire. Slept well.

2 comments to New Zealand Trip Day 6 – Milford Sound and Fiordlands

  • dallas

    Love that pic of Brenda after getting goosed, and funny you are all representing the Blazers.

  • Mark Fisher

    Spectacular scenery! I’ve never been to either place, but it kind of looks like the photos I’ve seen of the Fiords.

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