The Milford Sound is worth all the hype. Need I say more?
After Queenstown, I went straight to Te Anau and hop on the first tour available going to the Milford Sound. People have talked great things about the Milford Sound. Countless photographs were shot at this place and yet I was skeptical about it. As a place gets popular over time, the wow factor reduces as well. This was not the case for the Milford Sound though. My mouth was wide open throughout the whole tour beginning from the ridiculously beautiful road leading to the fjord up until the last glance at the fjord on my way back. It was truly a magical experience.
Day 22: Te Anau
I woke up early in the morning to catch a bus to Te Anau. The weather didn't look too good that day and since I would be going to the Milford Sound the next day, I expect nothing but rain.
Day 23: The Milford Sound
I was so wrong. As it turned out the weather was perfect in Te Anau. My hope went up a little bit but the Milford Sound was still pretty far away and since the fjord is surrounded by mountains, the weather can become unpredictable .
I went with the Milford Sound cruise by Real Journeys. I paid around 155 NZD for the tour including a pickup and drop off at Te Anau.
Personally, I prefer not to travel with a tour but since I had limited time and no plan, I had no choice but to go with the Real Journey. They were not bad by all means, but it was just a little too touristy for me.
It was still pretty cloudy and given the fact that it rains at least 200 days a year in the Milford Sound, I expected nothing less.
The road leading to the Milford Sound was ridiculously scenic. My eyes sparkled in anticipation.
This was one of the most scenic road I have ever been on. I was so impressed by it that I had not realize that the actual tour had not begun yet!
It had been raining left and right for a week, and the day I was at the Milford Sound, the clouds miraculously disappeared. I think cried a little on the inside out of joy.
Meet the Milford Mariner, a cruise that would take me through this alien landscape.
In minutes, the boat started rolling its engine and cruised toward the mountains.
I didn't realize how big these mountains were until my eyes started noticing the size of a full-grown tree at the foot of the mountains.
I had the option to sit inside or stand on the deck. I went with the deck of course and found my own personal spot right in front of the ferry.
As we crusied through the fjord, I started to notice a huge waterfall on the side of one of the mountains. It was the Sterling waterfall.
This is the 4 sisters waterfall. The amount of water flow flunctuates depending on the amount of rain that day.
Everything in the Milford Sound seems oversized. It was like crusing through a set from the movie, King Kong.
If you have been wondering how big these actually are, here is a ferry for scale.
The captain stopped at one of the waterfall and plunged the ferry's front under a waterfall. I was almost soaked!
The wind and the height of the waterfall probably contributed to the way the water sprayed down instead of flowing normally.
After crusing for an hour, we eventually reached the open ocean and had to turn back.
Since we were cruising through valleys and fjords the wind was strong enough to make my face numb. I decided to go back inside and rest a bit.
As I was resting my eyes, the ferry came to a halt. I quickly ran out to the deck and see what was up, and as it turned out, the captain spotted this little fella and stopped for us to take some photos. It was the first and the last time I spotted a penguin in New Zealand.
Here is the Sterling waterfall up close. Stunning isn't it?
Again, the captain plunged the front of the ferry under the fall and I managed to snap this photo without breaking my camera. It was worth it.
Two hours was more than enough to appreciate the sight of the Milford Sound on a cruise in my opinion.
How fortunate I was to be able to experience the Milford Sound on the clearest day ever. Not many people were able to see the Milford Sound as I did and I am grateful for it.
New Zealand is truly the only country in the world that over-delivered its promises about nature. They are very proud of it and they have all the rights in the world to be. The Milford Sound is truly nature's masterpiece.
At the end of the day, I took one last look at the Milford Sound and headed back to Te Anau to meet up with my friend Ashley and her sister Rachel whom I would be traveling with for the next 3 days.
Stay tuned for the next entry where we will explore the South Island's great nature closer than ever before by walking the famous Routeburn Great Walk.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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