Rudyard Kipling once referred to Milford Sound as the eighth wonder of the world. Having now experienced its irresistible beauty for ourselves, we can absolutely see why.
Milford Sound is a fiord on the South Island of New Zealand, feeding into the Tasman Sea. The fiord is known to be the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand, and one of the wettest places in the world. We’d heard of cruises being cancelled due to poor weather conditions, so we didn’t plan our trip here in advance so that we’d be able to pick the best of our three days in Queenstown to explore the fiord. We were really lucky with the weather for the first few days in NZ, and were able to experience Milford Sound on a clear, crisp, Spring morning. Of course we were later told that it’s actually even better during or soon after rainfall, as the rain encourages temporary small waterfalls to form all round the fiord and creates an even more breathtaking spectacle.
We decided to save some money, and booked onto the first cruise of the day at 9am. This was less than half the price of the cruises from 10:30am onwards, and even included free breakfast! After doing some research, we decided upon the company ‘Go Orange’, as they have a smaller sized boat than some of the larger companies, which means less people, and a more intimate experience. We also decided to save on time and money and drive ourselves rather than join a coach party. This meant that in order to arrive at 9am, we had to leave Queenstown not long after 4am (!!).
The great thing about leaving this early in the morning is that we got to see the most spectacular starry skies – we had genuinely never seen the night sky so clearly ever before. I insisted that we pulled the car over (despite our tight time limit!) to get a couple of snaps.
And to top it off? We witnessed an awe-inspiring sunrise comprised of gold, peach and raspberry tones which was nothing short of breath-taking.
Our boat cruise around Milford Sound took just over 2 hours in total, and was absolutely magical. We were lucky enough to see dolphins, penguins and sea lions, and all without a single drop of rain! The scenery was nothing short of awesome, and really invoked memories of mythical beasts and monsters from childhood fairytales and fantasy epics. I’ll let the images speak for themselves…
Delicious and much-needed breakfast… complimentary. Romantic view? Priceless.
Bottlenose Dolphins – they swam right up to the boat and began playing alongside. So adorable!
Our captain snuck into this little crevice so that we could see this little guy just hanging out on the rocks – how cute is he??
I loved this boat – it reminded me of something you’d find in Peter Pan!
On our way back to Queenstown, we made a couple of quick stops en route. If you drive yourself, definitely check out the Mirror Lakes (best if you’ve got a clear, still day), and The Chasm.
The Chasm looks as though it has been carved by an expert hand, each little nook and crevice sculpted out carefully and deliberately. It was yet another reminder of how beautiful and inspiring nature can be.
At the The Chasm car park we encountered these cheeky little critters – kea birds. There were signs all over warning people not to feed them – presumably they are the nation’s pests, but we found them really quite endearing. And although we didn’t feed them, they did have a good go at devouring our camera equipment!
I’m sure that we would have missed out on some interesting and useful tips by avoiding the coach journey to Milford Sound, but we’re really glad that we were able to get there so early and catch that quieter first boat. The early start gave us the flexibility to then meander slowly back towards Queenstown, stopping wherever we fancied and admiring the beautiful scenery and charming wildlife.
Have any of you guys experienced Milford Sound? We’d love to hear about it!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our Milford Sound vlog and subscribe to our channel for upcoming videos.
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