Stunning Fiordlands

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
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Trip End Jun 01, 2012


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, February 12, 2012

Our move over to the west coast started with a change of plan. We were intending on driving straight from Dunedin to Queenstown and then having a day trip to Milford Sound a couple of days later. However on closer inspection of a map I realised that would mean around 8 hours of driving and no chance of getting to Milford Sound early enough. 


 Instead we drove from Dunedin to Te Anau, and after another amazing Hokey Pokey ice-cream from the dairy, headed around 50km's towards Milford Sound where we camped for the night. 


 Then first thing in the morning we hit the road and made our way down into the Fiordlands. 
This is the most spectacular drive yet, possibly ever. Initially you drive through farmed fields and forests backed by a mountain range and as you continue the views get more and more impressive. Following the river you end up driving along into the mountains and surrounded by peaks including some that are still snow capped. It must be one of the most dangerous drives ever because it's so hard to concentrate on the road! 
 

 Inevitably we stopped a load of times to take photos and explore a bit. One of the most interesting stops involved a walk to a spot along the river called 'the chasm.' Here, gushing water has picked up stones and trees and then carved large holes into the rocks, creating amazing rock formations over time. It looks a bit like a waterfall but the water goes through the holes in the rocks. We could stand on a bridge above and watch the water cascading down and hammering over the rocks and into dark waters below. It was a really unique sight and really beautiful. 


 We also stopped at Mirror lakes, the water here is so calm that you can see the reflection of the mountains behind almost perfectly, especially early in the morning and at sunset
 

 Then came the climax to the drive, Milford Sound which sits at the foot of Mitre peak which is an awe inspiring sight reflecting off the still dark waters. It's basically like a harbour with an inlet from the Tasman Sea but it was created by a Glacier thousands of years ago so it a Fiord rather than a Sound (hope the guy who named it was fired!). 


 Whilst most of the water is salt water from the Tasman sea, the top 3 metres are fresh water from the rivers, but all that really matters is that the views are simply unbelievable! 


 We debated for ages whether we should pay loads of money to do one of the cruises along Milford Sound and having decided against it, we then changed our minds and went. It was well worth it as the cruise took you all the way along the edge of the Sound with the mountains jutting out from the water right above you and waterfalls all around us. 


 The boat literally took us into a waterfall at one point, a bit of a shock for everyone at the front who had clambered up there to get a lovely picture and came back drenched, I think the captain needed some light entertainment! It was awesome and well worth the money in the end as it was another highlight of our New Zealand trip! It's hard to describe how beautiful it is, perhaps our photos will give some idea, although photos can't really do it justice.
 

 We have now made our way to Queenstown where I don't think we'll be bungee jumping, but we'll see what else there is to do here. We've already had an adrenalin filled afternoon thanks to the van. For ages it said we had a full tank of petrol, which I thought was suspicious and then within 5 minutes it dropped down to empty and the petrol light came on. Fortunately we were only 10km's from a petrol station and we'll have to see if the gauge is broken or just having a special day! 


 Bring on Queenstown, already it looks awesome! 


 Love New Zealand... did we mention that?
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Comments

charlene on

Just need to make a correction re my previous comment - Paige and I did NOT wee in the garage - we just WERE in the garage. Sorry for any confusion !!!!!! :-)

seanspacifica
seanspacifica on

Hahaha, thanks for the clarification. xx

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