Milford Sound

Trip Start Jun 13, 2006
Trip End Jun 12, 2007

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Alex: We left Wanaka at the sparrows fart, as they say round here, heading for Te Anau in Fiordland to visit Milford Sound. Despite the fact we weren't staying a night and didn't want to go bungy jumping we didn't want to miss Queenstown completely so we stopped briefly for breakfast. Its a very pretty town, situated on a gorgeous lake and edged by the Remarkables; huge, snow-capped mountains that just seem to rise vertically from the earth. Back on the road we arrived in Te Anau to a wonderfully hot sunny day. Te Anau is another pretty town on a lake and after sorting out our Milford cruise for the following day we just chilled out drinking wine and enjoying the sun.

We had another early morning so we could get to Milford Sound for our 10.30 cruise. The drive was spectacular and, I am sure, would have been more so if it wasn't for the overcast weather and fog. When we got to Milford Sound the cloud was still low but it didn't stop us appreciating the huge, almost vertical mountains that make up the valley sides. Our cruise took us the length of the fjord (it is mis-named a sound but is a fjord as it was carved by a glacier not a river) stopping at various waterfalls to get the nose of the boat (and the passengers stood in the wrong spots) wet. My favorite waterfall was the one coming from the hanging valley, which is apparently far taller than Niagara but because the mountains dwarf it on all sides doesn't look it. The forested edges are very interesting, there is not really any soil so the moss grows on the lichens, the ferns on the moss and finally the trees, all with their roots intertwined as support, great until one tree gets to old to support the rest and falls causing a tree avalanche. As we got out of the fjord, briefly onto the Tasman sea the heavens opened and we all retreated into the boat only peering out to catch a glimpse of the New Zealand Fur Seals (also mis-named, they are sea lions). Back in the car we were put off the various stops just off the road by the persistent drizzle so got back to Te Anau only for the sun to come out again - typical. Oh well, it was fun anyway.
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