Beautiful Milfod Sounds

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Te Anu is about two hours drive from Queenstown and is very popular is it's the gateway to Milford Sound. This whole area is called Fiordland, it is New Zealands rawest wilderness area, with jagged mountains everywhere you turn.  Forest zones have been sliced up to form deep recessed sounds which reach inland.  Te Anau itself is a very small town with very little to do, so we gathered all the information we needed to book our cruise around the sound and grabbed a cup of tea while we made our choice.  Once we decided which company to use we booked it for the following day as the weather forecast was looking good.  Down in the Fiordlands it rains lots two out of three days will have rain on average, so we felt lucky that the forecast was looking good.  With our packed lunches ready we had an early night in preparation for a long day ahead.

The drive from Te Anau to Mildord is two hours but we left three hours early as the drive there is much talked about.  It was a truly amazing drive with huge snow-capped mountains, we stopped at Mirror Lakes, which took us through beech forest and wetlands and because it was a calm day the reflection they gave us off the mountains was incredible, and again all because of the weather.  We also stopped at Key Summit to catch the views and as we pulled up some Kia Parrots came running over to the car for food.  They are like little clowns, very entertaining as we sat in the car one stood on the roof and peeped his head upside down in the window having a look about.  There are signs everywhere telling people not to feed the kias, so we didn’t.  As the road bended round it lead us to Homer Tunnel which is carved through the mountains at 1207 meters long and emerges at the head of Cleddau Valley.  When we drove out of the tunnel, it was such dramatic scenery and there was signs everywhere telling us not to stop as it’s an avalanche zone, good old Tony got us through safely to Milford with just enough time to spare for lunch before we boarded the boat.

The boat was a great looking thing and it took us through the sounds, one of the first things I couldn’t believe is the amount of waterfalls everywhere we looked it was incredible, apparently on a rainy day there are twice the amount. As the ship cruised through the sounds we saw Fiordland Crested Penguins, sea lions and bottle nosed dolphins which were a real treat.  As we cruised through the sound it was easy to see how it had been formed by a glacier many years ago by the shape.  We also saw cracks down the mountains that were formed by earthquakes.  The Captain steered the ship right into a waterfall and we got soaked, soon to be warmed up with a cup of chocolate below deck.  The cruise lasted about two hours and the guide was amazed at how lovely the weather had been for us all which made us feel very luck people.

On the drive back we decided to stop at Humboldt Falls which was a short walk from the car park.  It’s really funny because we are seeing so many waterfalls everywhere we go and every time we look at each other and say "It’s just not Iguassu Falls"  I think we have been spoilt in that department! We stopped and did a small walk to The Chasm where a huge range of boulders had been shaped by the rapids crashing over them.  They were all rounded with holes all over them.  After that last walk we were ready to relax and headed back to camp for the night.
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