We started our day at around 7.30 pm for the 5 hour car journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound.
En-route Kingston Flyer, we were mostly on mountainous roads. Our eyes enjoyed Mother Nature's art gallery showcasing a series of breathtaking artworks- the vast mountains summer collection. Surrounded by mountains which seemed to be thousands of hectares away, big clumps of snowy white clouds just above us drifted by. At times, the road in front seemed to be shrouded by mist. There were lovely valleys and majestic mountains dotted with tall, strong trees, covered with luscious green and complete with gorgeous lake. Against such a backdrop, our hearts broadened to the breadth of the lake. It was magical.
Places we passed by included Mossburn (deer capital, no we did not spot any deer there), Mavora lake, Lake Mistletoe and Te Anau. Along the way, we were greeted by grazing cows and sheep. They were carefree and at times, nonchalant. Lady Luck was smiling at us as we chanced upon a flock of sheep walking on the opposite side of the road.
The green was swopped for white as our trustworthy car cradled us up to the mountain. We drove passed Rodger's Creek and took some photograph at the Chasm. However, this had to be quick ones as the sand flies were a nuisance.
Above: Sight before Rodger's Creek
Below: The Chasm
We managed to catch the 11.45 am Southern Discoveries Cruise to see the spectacular Milford Sound - the crown jewel of NZ, and considered one of the most beautiful, must-see places on the planet. (Fast Fact: to refer Milford Sound as a sound is incorrect. Sounds are valleys created by rivers. Fiords are valleys created by glacier.) There was only the Milford Road leading to the ferry terminal to board the ferry. No petrol stations were available past Te Anau, so it made sense to fill up the petrol tank. There was free parking available by the Blue Duck Cafe & Bar and from there it was a 10 minute walk to the cruise terminal.
We marvelled at the majestic national beauty of Milford Sound, up close and personal. The thick vegetation, comprising different species of trees with roots intertwined to grow through the cracks of the concrete rock, took a century to form. However, it would only take mere minutes to bring them down by a precipitous rainfall.
The ferry took us to the very heart and soul of the Fiord - braving through waterfall and revealing the rainbow arc as the ferry pushed its way towards the waterfall. Seals could be spotted sunbathing on the rocks. As rough winds were tamed by the majestic mountains as they channelled through. Fiords were safe havens for seals.
We stood in awe at the Australia and Pacific fault line which cut across the concrete mountain. As the ferry ventured close to the Tasman sea, the water became choppy. This was to be expected with Tasman sea at the intersection of the warm wind from Australia and cold wind from Antarctic.
Below: Tasman Sea
Our ferry docked at Harrison's Cove where we visited Milford Discovery and Underwater Observatory. There we were transported into the awe-inspiring underwater world. The key attraction was the floating underwater observatory where we descended 10m underwater for an uninterrupted 360 degree views of the magnificent rate black coral (which are white in colour!) and colourful sea creatures.
After the 2 hour cruise, we drove another 2 hours to Te Anau, Explorer Motor Lodge, to call it a day and make booking for a tour of Doubtful Sound.