Milford Sound is one of the most unique and beautiful places in New Zealand so it was at the top of the ‘must see’ list for our parents while visiting. Jordan and I had done a cruise back in October on a drizzly, foggy day so we were looking forward to experiencing Milford Sound on a beautiful sunny day.
|Stunning Milford Sound|
The drive alone to Milford is spectacular as you pass through the glacier cut mountains in the once ocean filled fiordland. As we got closer to town, the scenery became more beautiful requiring several photo stops to take in the snow-capped mountains.
|Snow capped mountains along the road to Milford Sound|
We decided to go on the Southern Discoveries Nature Cruise again because we really enjoyed the small boat, the witty crew and the nature highlights along the cruise. We parked ourselves at the front of the boat and didn’t leave that spot the entire trip.
|Southern Discoveries Lady Bowen|
The famous Mitre Peak was stunning in the blue sky backdrop with the morning sun showcasing it’s magnificent sculptured mountains and steep cliff face. The scene was strikingly similar to the cover of our Lonely Planet guide that we’ve been carrying around since we arrived in September.
|Milford Track cover of Lonely Planet Guide|
We passed the beautiful Lady Bowen falls – the one of only two permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound – which was flowing pretty steady despite limited rainfall this week. It was such a perfect, calm morning as the sun starting to peak over the steep mountains – just beautiful!
|Dad, me, Mom & Jeanette enjoying the view|
As we passed the colorful rockfaces, the crew pointed out the unique rock formations and plant-life – we even got so close we could reach out and touch one the overhanging trees! One of the many perks of a small, nimble cruise boat.
|Colorful rockfaces along Milford Sound|
It wasn’t long before we recognized the voice of Mike – the narrator from our last Nature Cruise and who we met along the Milford Track back in October! He was just as witty, cracking jokes the entire trip.
Around the corner we came up to Fairy Falls which create a beautiful rainbow as the morning sun reflects off the rushing water. The closer the boat got, the lower the rainbow would move down the falls.
|Fairy Falls rainbow|
Just as we started to head towards the mouth of the Tasman Sea, a pod of dolphins came swimming around the corner. The captain made a quick 180 turn to follow the pod and as we picked up speed they swam with the boat along the bow just like they did with our kayaks in Doubtful Sound! Amazing to be within a few feet of a dozen bottle nose dolphins as they leaped out of the water, some even turning on their side to look up at you.
After the excitement of the dolphins we came up to one of two seal colonies sun bathing on the rocks and playing in the water below. We even finished off the ‘triple threat’ with a quick sighting of a penguin in the water completing the perfect nature cruise!
|Seal colony bathing in the sun|
As we made our way back from the entrance of the Tasman sea, it was surprising how the passing boats were dwarfed by the steep fiords, making the large cruise ships seem so insignificant in the distance.
|Miniature cruise ships in the distance – Can you see them?|
As we approached the second permanent falls – Stirling Falls – we donned the orange rain jackets provided and got an up close and personal view of the crashing falls!
A wet and wide ride, it capped off a beautiful day exploring the magnificent Milford Sound!
|Having a good time getting soaked by the waterfall|
A definite highlight for us and our parents on their trip, we look forward to coming back to kayak Milford Sound next month when our friends Brent & Kristina arrive! Always a great time in this tiny, beautiful town.
|Cock-Poste Family Photo!|
Check out Episode 32 – Milford Sound