Te Anau and Milford Sound

Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
Trip End Sep 07, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, June 4, 2006

Hi Everone,

Arrived into Te Anau last Wednesday evening , after a long drive via the Catlins to the West Coast. Te Anau is a small village built beside another picture perfect lake. The village is gorgeous, basically a crossroads but with lots of restaurants and pretty little shops. It is known as the gateway to the Milford Sound and most of it's livelihood is due to being the village at the start of the 120km drive to the fiord. Had a nice relaxing evening as it was an early start on Thursday to drive to the Milford Sound. We were really excited as the drive is considered to be one of the most scenic in the world.

First thing, we needed to check the road conditions as there is only one road in and out and it is frequently closed due to avalanches as it is an Alpine journey. Good news, the road was open and the forecast was good for the day.

The first part of the road veers through farmland and beech forest and heads towards the entrance to the Fiordland National park. Once we entered the park after about 30 kms, the change in the scenery was dramatic. The mist over the forests, mountains and lakes was spectacular. Fast flowing rivers, still blue lakes, snow on the mountains, waterfalls appearing as if from nowhere out of the rock faces - just stunning!

After 90 kms you get into real Alpine territory, snow capped mountains and ice on the road. The climb to the Homer tunnel is steep, which is a 1km long tunnel through the top of one of the peaks. It is pitch dark with water running down the sides and barely enough room for one car. When we emerged, the view over the landscape was unbelievable, we started our descent through Alpine forest to Milford which consists of a cafe, airfield and boat jetty.

We had booked on a two hour cruise through the fiord. It is a 22 km long fiord dominated by sheer cliffs and peaks that surround it. Water cascades down the cliff faces making spectacular waterfalls. The cruise was great, very cold on top deck though! Free tea, coffee and soup helped.

Drove the 120km back to Te Anau after a fabulous day, all set to head to Queenstown on Friday morning.

Love Lisa and Paul x
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