. We went all the way out to sea and then turned round to head back up the other side. From that angle out at sea you can understand why it was the only Fiord that wasn’t found by Cook as he mapped the West Coast, because even from as close as we were the opening is hidden and it just looks like a normal coastline.
After we arrived back into Milford we headed back down the Milford Road and got to see the views back the other way. We stopped off on the way at a place with really cool rock formations which we had avoided on the way down because there were 2 huge tour buses there with hoards of people. We arrived at our camp spot, a free DOC site near Lake Monowai, a little after dark, and except for having the worst smelling loo we’ve encountered so far it was lovely place to pull up for the night. The only drama came when Kevin went to borrow a lighter from some fellow campers who were sat around a fire and, approaching in the dark, he stepped on a long bit of firewood sticking out of the fire which almost hit one of the lads in the face….and then asked them for a favour! Smooth.
Milford Sound – correctly Milford Fiord – is supposed to be a rewarding 2.5 drive in good weather, a complete waste of time in bad weather (excluding heavy rain which is apparently the very best time to go). We checked the weather the night before and as it looked ok we took the risk and drove north. The scenery was simply stunning, even though the clouds were low lying and it was hard to sometimes see the tops of mountains. We stopped in a few places on the way to look at waterfalls and vistas, photos provided of course. Once we got to Milford we booked a cruise into the fiord and started battling with the sand flies whilst we waited. The little feckers just won't budge with a little shake and are so light you don’t know they’re there until you feel the unmistakable pinch of them biting you! Once we were on the boat though they went away and our only worry was making sure we didn’t miss any of the incredible scenery. There are loads of waterfalls from little to big pushing their way out of the mountains, one of which our boat decided to veer off course to stop under….cue shower for Liz and Kevin