Reportedly coined as the “eighth wonder of the world”, Milford Sound is the full monty of scenic views. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most magnificent sights I have ever encountered in my life and words can’t really describe the sheer size and phenomenon that is really is.
The day began with an early start, fortunately commencing at 8 rather than 6/6:30, which is when the general public have to hop on the bus to go. Luckily, the Kiwi Experience bus leaves a little late, supposedly to avoid extra tourist traffic. We were in for a long day, with the drive through Fiordland, totalling up to approximately 4 hours one-way. Though the length of the drive may seem off-putting, I can honestly say that it isn’t as bad as you would imagine. There was always something to look at, like the native Kea (shown below) and incredible views, so bag yourself a window seat, and possibly a pillow…
We were given plenty of photo opportunities, so that everyone could capture the same photo of the same mountains. After a while, I felt a little silly taking so many pictures because I wasn’t sure when, or if, I would ever look at them again. However, you almost feel an obligation to do it as the landmarks longingly beg for their pictures to be taken.
When we arrived, the skies were gloomy and grey, and the wind was picking up but our excitement was as high as ever. The bus driver supplied us with our boat tickets and we quickly clambered onto the ferry that would take us out to where the Sound met the Tasman Sea and back, taking us around an hour and half.
We hunkered down for a windy ride, but I couldn’t help resist climbing to the top level and taking in all of what there was to see. This lasted only a few minutes before I nearly lost my hat in the wind and could hardly balance on my own two feet. I figured that the second level would have to do.
I spent most of my time at the front of the boat with the best view you could get, with the waves crashing beneath me as the boat powered along, and the scenery set clear before my eyes. Namely, the ability to stand metres away from these beautiful, little seals, lying lazily on the rocks, was a moment I could scarcely forget. It seemed such a strange place for a group of seals to be lounging, and yet I then reflected upon the peace and serenity they must have in the Sound, when the droves of tourists weren’t around.
My favourite moment was when the ferry drove underneath one of the waterfalls, and those brave enough were allowed to stand on the front deck and the water plummeted down around them. One American man from the bus, called Tony, stuck it out and stayed on the front deck until he was entirely saturated. I was rather impressed but not at all envious, especially as we had a 4 hour bus ride home! He returned back inside dripping from head to toe from the experience, but all worth it for the Go-Pro video!
Overall, I would rate Milford Sound as my favourite part of the entire trip, amongst the bungy jumping and the many beautiful sunsets, it really stood out to me. Until I had visited Milford Sound, I never quite grasped how special and unique New Zealand is.
If you ever get a chance to visit, do it do it do it!