Fiordland National Park is one of the most jawdroppingly beautiful places I’ve ever been. My travel partner and I drove from Queenstown to Te Anau (which is a beautiful drive in itself), and from there I was lucky enough to get to drive to Milford Sound twice, in fantastic summer weather.
In Te Anau we saw this little seaplane, and since we’re both pilots we quickly decided to go down and have a look. We had a long and interesting conversation with Adam, the pilot, and agreed to meet up the next morning for a sight seeing flight over Doubtful Sound.
Doubtful Sound is I think 10 times larger than Milford, and named thus because Captain Cook (when he discovered the place) was doubtful whether he could sail his ship in there and get back out again.
I expected the flight to be quite bumpy because, well, mountains, but it was actually incredibly smooth. Might have been because it was still early in the day (we took off at about 8 AM).
Read more about my travels in New Zealand here.
After this flight my partner had the chance to fly with Adam up to Milford Sound for free, so of course he did that. I was quite happy to get the chance to drive up there instead. I took my time – it takes about 1,5 hours if you drive like a newzealander (read: fast), but I took a bit longer. Partly because I was stuck behind a tree that had fallen across the road in one of the forests, for about half an hour.
The actual place of Milford Sound is tiny. It is basically a restaurant, the ferry terminal and I think an overpriced hotel, but that’s it. My partner spent the time until I could get there by car snapping photos – I think half of the photos in this post are his.
We slept in a very nice camping ground in Te Anau, and the next day we drove back up to Milford Sound to go on a sightseeing boat trip. It’s a long drive but when it is that gorgeous it doesn’t matter at all.
On the way up there we stumbled on a flock of keas and their following of (mostly Japanese) tourists. They are fascinating (the keas)! Larger and more colourful than I imagined (look for the red under their wings), and absolutely fearless!
And I mean, fearless..!
When it became time for the boat ride I was happy that I had my anti-sea-sickness pills with me as it gets quite rough out on the water, pretty much no matter the weather. This is because the mountains make a tunnel effect on the wind.
Also, the water is incredibly deep! The boat had a screen read out of different facts, among them depth. I think the deepest we saw was 200 meters, and that was pretty close to the mountain walls.
We were lucky enough to see some seals!
On the way home we stopped at Mirror Lake, which is definitely very clear, and if there’s no wind there’s a sign for you to be able to read upside down. Anyway, it’s very pretty.
And the way home, back to Queenstown.
Have you been to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound? How did you like it? Comment below.