Milford Sound – One of the most popular attraction in New Zealand!
Milford Sound, which is supposed to be a Fjord since it was formed by retreating glacier, happens to be the wettest area in New Zealand, getting about 7-9m of rain every year! But be it rain or shine, this place’s beauty is undeniable!
We took off real early in the morning, freaking 6:45am to catch the van at the hotel and transferred to the coach (huge coach!), picked up a few more people at the other location before setting off for Te Anau, one of the 2 toilet stop for the journey. The entire trip there takes about 5 hours and another 5 hours back. But we also have the option of upgrading the trip by taking a flight back, which includes a tour around Mt Aspiring. But meh, we are all young, poor travellers, so a coach back is good enough. As the Milford Sound tour takes an entire day and spend most of the time on the coach, bring along a travel pillow, or earplugs and catch up on your sleep while travelling there.
The operator that we used was Real Journeys and we had a really grumpy driver who did the commentary as well, which really affected our mood. Meh. We stopped at Te Anau where we could pop into some shops to get food before we head onto the cruise because the food on the cruise can be pretty costly, but they do provide free tea and coffee for the passengers though, which was really nice especially after braving the rain and wind on the deck.
Not sure if we should count ourselves as lucky or unlucky. The entire trip, to and back Milford Sound, it was raining. So the photos all turned out really gloomy. But it was also due to the rain, we could see the waterfalls at their full glory! Water was gushing down the cliffs, pretty magnificent. Due to the wet weather, this area is also prone to snow, trees and rocks avalanches.
We had several photo stops, including one at Mirror Lake. Would be super if there wasn’t rain though.
Had another photo stop (don’t remember where this place is!)
We quickly hopped onto the cruise and started our tour upon reaching the terminal. Since it was the holidays in New Zealand and everywhere else (Cos it’s the New Year), so tonnes of tourists in that area, never seen so many people in New Zealand the entire trip.
Shot some footage while on the cruise, check the short video out! (don’t laugh, just cos this is my very first video!):
On days when if you’re lucky, dolphins and penguins can be seen in the Fjord! But lady luck wasn’t on our side I guess, we only got to see some seals resting on the rock.
Stirling Waterfall! Looks grander with all the rain water! The cruise got real close to the fall and everyone on the deck were trying to decide if they should hide or get their cameras out for some pictures. & almost immediately, the skies started pouring like crazy.
In the early days, explorers did not discover the Fjord, simply because the opening of the Fjord was too small which gives them the misunderstanding that they would be too near the mountains. Another reason was also because the fog was too strong, which resulted in low visibility when trying to take a peek at what there’s past the entrance.
Strongly recommend a good waterproof windbreaker to keep yourself warm and dry if coming here, even if it is sunny when you depart from Queenstown.
FUN FACT: We drove along Lake Wakatipu and came across a reserve. That reserve was said to allow researchers and scientists know how the nature would grow to be like in Antartica, taking into consideration that it is the world’s driest place. Damn cool. But all I saw was shrubs which looks really thorny… Lol.
All in all, I would say, if you are really into admiring nature, and wanting to know more about what Milford Sound is and is up for that crazy coach ride, go ahead and book your tour, you would enjoy it so much. But if you are just trying to go for what the normal tourists are going for, you will end up cursing and swearing at your decision at the end of the day.
Real Journeys even have an overnight cruise which my tour mate told me they included in Contiki previously but took it out. Would lovee to try the overnight cruise sometime!
Be sure to check out this awesome tour over here!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored trip! Everything was my own expenses.