New Zealand… 6 – Milford Sound cruise

Milford Sound

After our photo stops we finally drove to our main destination of the day: Milford Sound.

I was eagerly awaiting our 32 km return,  1.5 hr cruise on the fjord (it’s not a sound, it’s a fjord but the name was well-established when they discovered this).  It was one of the main reasons I was doing this tour.   As we made our way up to the boat we were stopped at the entrance and asked to pose for a photo.   The photo pack would be available for collection when we disembarked.  There were three levels to the boat. Most people went up to the second level and sat in one of the booths.  I did too but didn’t stay there for long.  I love being out in the open top decks on boats, feeling the wind rush through my hair.

Looking back at the photos I took, the sky looked quite foreboding but apart from the wind it was a fairly warm day.  The clouds started rolling in and were a lot lower when we headed back from the ocean to the pier.

The mountains surrounding Milford Sound are amongst the tallest in the world and ascend straight from the ocean up to a height of approx 1.6km.  We were told that only 1/3 of the mountains are above the water level.  Spectacular scenery was something we were getting used to but the scenery around Milford Sound is at a whole different level.

We passed the passenger cruise ship Dawn Princess near the beginning of the cruise.  Those ships are huge but looked like they were the size of ants compared to the mountains.  The ship could only go in so far because of the depth of the sound so we passed it on it’s way back out to the ocea.

Once we reached the heads we turned back and made up way back up the fjord.  The captain told us he was going to take the boat right up to a waterfall so we could feel the spray (if we dared).  Well of course I dared.  I went up to the front of the boat and stood there while we inched closer to the rockface.  The closer we got the more I could feel the spray.  The misty spray was so soft and gentle.  It was amazing.  I’ve never felt water so soft.  Despite the magnificent surroundings this was my favourite part of the cruise.  We stayed there for a minute or two then we moved away to complete our cruise.

As promised, our photo packs were waiting for us when we disembarked.  We didn’t have much time because we had to get back to Te Anau but I stopped to have a look.  Unfortunately I didn’t look very good.  I look very wind-blown in the photos.  The pack contained about 6 photos in different sizes, a cd and a keyring to put the small photo in.

Once on the bus we drove back to Te Anau.  We had a two hour drive back to town with only one quick stop along the way at Knobbs Flat.  We arrived in town and went to the Kingsgate Te Anau hotel.   Just before we arrived Clarke told us that Paul had delivered our bags to the hotel when we were here earlier in the day so our bags were already in our room.  We just had to collect our key and go to the rooms.

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