Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, March 6, 2009

Here are some of our favorite pictures of Milford.  They don't do it justice - they don't even come close.  This is something you must see for yourself!!!

We have moved on and are now enjoying the southern most part of the island.  After spending 6 nights in Queenstown, 3 camping and 3 in an awesome hostel, we were ready to hit the road again. 
First we went west along the coast of Lake Wakatipu, which is the same lake that Queenstown sits on.  It is actually the longest lake in New Zealand.  We went to the town called Glenorche.  Stunning little town right on the water.  We didn't spend the night but just wondered around.  It's mostly known for the drive.
After Glenorche we went southwest to Te Anau.  This town is also right on a lake - Lake Wakatipu.  It seems like all towns and cities here are on water, well all the ones that we want to visit are anyway.  Ta Anau was great!  We found a good campsite on the water and stayed for two nights.  The first night we walked downtown and checked everything out, but only after jumping in the freezing cold lake for a dip.  Sometimes you just have to talk yourself into it.   
The next morning we booked an afternoon cruise on the Milford Sound.  The drive up (2 hours away) was unbelievable.  It rained on us a little on the way up and we were a little worried about what we would see out on the boat.  But, when we boarded the boat the captain said "The wetter, the better."  As soon as we left the dock we started seeing waterfall after waterfall.  We literally saw thousands of them.  The captain said the day before, when it had only been dazzling, you could only see the 5 main waterfalls on the sound - but we were seeing THOUSANDS!!! 
The boat was really small and there was only about 15 people on it total, so we really lucked out.  Brian and I found a good table to sit at because we didn't want to get wet outside, but that only lasted for 10 minutes, then we were outside the rest of the time.  They took us under two huge waterfalls.  When I saw under, I mean he literally put the front of the boat into the crashing water.  I'm not sure how he even controlled it.  The first time, we were standing out in the front of the boat, not knowing how far under it he would go - we thought we were just getting close to it.   Then it blasted us in the face and had to hold on the rails so we wouldn't fall over.  I could hardly see anything and what I did see was nothing but white wall of water.  There were a few other people out on the front of the boat with us and we just screamed the entire time.  Needless to say, we got completely soaked.  We went inside and the lady that worked on the boat had towels waiting for us.  The second time, he warned he was going other another waterfall that was 10 times what the first one was, I figured I'd skip it because I was still soaked.  Brian, however, went to the top of the boat and I followed him.  He stood up in front and I decided to stand in the back and watch him get soaked, plus it would actually be cool to see it up close.  Before we even got under the waterfall, it was like someone had a fire hose and was pointing it directly in my face!  We weren't even under it yet!  So much for staying the back and not getting wet.  Again, it was a complete white out, I could hardly stand up, and the captain stayed under this fall twice as long!  Soaking wet was worth it I decided, it's a once in a lifetime thing.  We also were taken up to one of the highest cliffs in Milford.  The captain put the front tip of the boat so close to the edge that you could touch the rock.  They told us to stand in the front and look up backwards.  What a crazy view - I took a picture but it doesn't do it justice.  None of our pictures even come close to showing what Milford is like. 
It is really hard to describe the Milford.  We never thought it would be anything like it was.  It really was phenomenal.  The mountains shoot straight up out of the water, and they were just as steep under the water.  It was over 1,700 feet deep in some areas!  We didn't think we would see much because of the rain but all the waterfalls we saw made it completely worth it.  Also, while we headed back in from the sea, the rain stopped and the sky cleared up a little bit and we were able to see the tops of some of these cliffs and mountains that were surrounding us.  The caption said it was the best of both worlds - to be able to see the falls and the peaks.  The boat we were on was the first working boat for the company and was only going to be doing tours for 3 more weeks.  It's unfortunate because it was such a cute little boat.  You don't want to take the huge ones because they have sooo many people on them and they cant go under the waterfalls or up close to the cliffs.  What a great experience!
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