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Milford Sound, finally! Monday, 11/28/16


Milford Sound IS New Zealand -- this glorious fiord comes to mind when you think of NZ's South Island, along with earthquakes and the Southern Alps, not necessarily in that order.  Arrestingly beautiful, it's been named one of the Wonders of the World.  Milford Sound is a destination, though the journey to get here from Te Anau and the cruise on the sound were the same to me, and so worth the effort.  Together they made a whole. 

This is an end goal ... once here, you have to turn around and return to Te Anau or Queenstown, 'cause there's no town to speak of, no hotels, streets or grocery stores at Milford Sound.  Instead, throngs of jabbering tourists burst out of coaches, step off buses ... those behemoths lined up like sardines in a single-layer tin ... forming queues, to get on their particular cruise boat, cameras clicking away.  Is this another spectacular spot on earth being loved to death?  I hope not.  Our little Road Scholar group had an 11 am (early) cruise booking, which meant we wouldn't be crowded out.  Hooray!


Ready to board.  Gray skies prevailed on the sound before Noon.  Yes, it was chilly, but not cold.  You could sit inside and stay warm or roam the outside decks.  You know where we were -- taking  in the sights and pictures up top.  (Is it me or are the people taking "selfies," running from location to location, becoming real pests?  Do they even care what they're seeing?  They sure seem pushy.) 


Snow-capped mountains serve as a backdrop for New Zealand's bright red flag.




Above and below:  No shortage of waterfalls on Milford Sound, each meriting a heap of photos.  Two permanent ones exist, and a hundred or more during the rainy season.




Appropriately named Seal Rock.  After diving for food at night, New Zealand's Fur Seals bask and relax (haha) here during the day.  Above is one big ol' male with a herd of females.  Looks like a great place to slide off, whether you wanted to or not. 







Wild, rugged mountains!  Mitre Peak at 1692 m (5,551 ft) is the highest.  Milford Sound's deepest point is 390 meters (1280 ft deep).  I was reminded of a fiord cruise we took in 2010 through Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne Nat'l Pk, Newfoundland, though that one is an "inland fiord." 


One of the world's rarest, we were lucky to get a glimpse of the Fiordland Crested Penguin. Check out the distinctive, bushy yellow eyebrows.  Just after I caught it on camera, it plopped in the water.


Red kayaks dot the pristine water above (kayaks can be rented), and it looks like yellow kayaks below.  This water has to be cold, but it would be an awesome experience, maybe one I'd like if I was prepared for the really chilly water/weather.  But, maybe it'd be a bit scary, too.






Like a water jet, wonderful Stirling Falls is on full blast!




Looking toward the Tasman Sea, Milford Sound stretches inland roughly ten miles (16 km). Slightly misty conditions near the sea added to the overall ethereal beauty.


Geez, this scene looks primeval.
Might Gandalf, from Lord of the Rings, be lurking around the corner?


Thin cascades dripped off every mountain.


Back on our coach, the driver aimed for Queenstown, maybe four hours away.  I sat with my face glued to the window, drinking in all New Zealand had to offer.  We'll we spend a couple of nights in Queenstown, with lots more adventure planned.  What a once-in-a-lifetime day!  What a trip we're having!

4 comments:

  1. Yes, the pictures made me think of the inland Fjord on Newfoundland! Awesome!

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  2. You're right about MS being synonymous with NZ. How neat that you saw the crested penguin ... they were all gone back to see by the time we landed on South Island.

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  3. Seems as though most photos that I have seen of Milford Sound from friends are misty like this. My friend Maryruth enlarged some of hers and printed them on shiny metal for her bedroom. As you say, a world class destination and one worthy of honor. So so beautiful. It is sad about how we are loving all our beautiful places to death. Kayaking those waters would only be scary because of having to dodge all those cruise boats!

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  4. Seals look pretty relaxed for such a steep resting spot! Impressive waterfalls for sure.

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