Cruising Milford Sound & Flying Over Fiordland

You've seen Jurassic Park, right? Remember at the beginning, where Richard Attenborough flies into the park in a helicopter, and you see those amazing views of the landscape, including waterfalls, mountains and rivers? That was almost identical to my experience at Milford Sound, one of the most stunning places in New Zealand.

The view of Mitre Peak from Milford Sound dock, South Island, New Zealand

Milford Sound is about a 3.5 hour bus journey from Queenstown. I'd heard spectacular things about Milford Sound from fellow travellers, so I knew I couldn’t miss out on exploring it.

We made three stops on the way to Milford Sound. The first stop was in Te Anau to collect some snacks and drinks, the second at the 'mirror lakes', but it was the third stop - in the heart of the Fiordland National Park - that started taking my breath away. 

Breathtaking Fjordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand

This was Lord of the Rings country, and the shear steepness and greenness of the mountain sides, plunging into rivers and streams, made it absolutely breathtaking.

We arrived at the end of Milford Sound Highway 94, hopped off the coach, and took in the views. With a small airport next to the dock, it was incredibly picturesque and peaceful.

We boarded the boat, and I took my place at the front, so I could get prime views of the fiord. Camera at the ready, we left the dock. After a brief introduction and safety briefing, we soon reached our first stop, next to some sleepy seals.

Seals in the Milford Sound, Fjordland, New Zealand

Looking around, there were sweeping, steep mountains, cloudy blue skies and high waterfalls plummeting down into the sound. It was spectacular.

Waterfall in the Milford Sound, Fjordland, New Zealand

We reached the Tasman Sea, ate the snacks we picked up in Te Anau, and headed back to port. Time for my first Vine.

Even a six second postcard doesn't do the view justice.

I remember points on the return leg where the entire boat was silent as people just took in the views. We stopped at another dock to drop some people off, and whilst most people headed to look at the port, I headed to the back of the boat to snap a few more pictures. I'm glad I did. Another small ferry was heading up the sound, and for me, this was my favourite picture of the trip.

The stunning Milford Sound, Fjordland, New Zealand

It captured the mountains, the blue sky, the lush green mountainsides, the cloudy blue skies, the water reflections...everything that Milford Sound embodied. Due to the time of year (February), I wasn’t lucky enough to have snow capped mountains and dolphins swimming next to the boat, but I wasn’t about to complain. It was an incredible experience....and one that was about to get even better.

Heading back to the coach, we were offered the chance the fly back to Queenstown. Me being me, I have a 'you only live once' attitude, and I probably would never get the chance to fly over Fiordland ever again, in what was now almost clear blue skies. Besides, it was the same 3.5 bus journey on the way back, with the same views we saw on the way to Milford Sound.

Yes you had to splash some cash, but it was a no brainer. I collected my bag, and headed to Milford Sound airport. All I remember outside the airport was the sound of wildlife. Crickets, birds, and the blue sky beating down on my head.

I waited by the appropriate sign.

The pilot accompanies you to the plane - Milford Sound Airport, Fjordland, New Zealand

10 minutes later, we were taken into the airfield to our little eight seater plane. We took a few photos, were given a short safety briefing, and then headed for take off. Given there were no restrictions on electrics, I filmed the take off. It gives you an idea of the sheer awe and beauty of the place.

We turned West just before Mitre Peak and headed towards Queenstown. If the views across Milford Sound from a boat were good, then the views from the air were incredible. Lush forest, hanging lakes, waterfalls and some incredible mountain scenery made the 30 minute flight one of my favourite memories from New Zealand.

View from the plane - Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

A hanging lake, as seen from the air - Fiordland, New Zealand
A hanging lake, as seen from the air - Fiordland, New Zealand
The approach into Queenstown Airport was equally amazing. As we lined up and banked right, I had an incredible view out towards Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown.

Queenstown Airport approach, New Zealand

And the best part about Queenstown? No matter how good your day was...no matter whether you felt on top of the world and had to share your story with someone, it seems everyone has their own amazing story to tell. Whether that’s skydiving, bungee jumping, mountain biking, rock climbing...you name it, someone has a story about it.

I had sailed and flown through Jurassic Park, but someone else had skydived into it. Definitely worth a beer or two to celebrate.

VLOG - EXPLORING MILFORD SOUND



2 comments:

  1. Hey Simon. I found this page through your YouTube video - it's really good, you should put it onto this page too. You were very lucky to get such a clear day in Milford Sound!

    If anyone else reading this is going there, check out the download link on this page: http://www.cruisemilfordnz.com/info

    There's a really good guide to what you can see on the drive there from Te Anau. Lots of people go straight through without stopping and miss some of the most amazing views in the area.

    It's been a few years since I've been down there but I'm going this August, so hopefully will get back there for another visit!

    cheers,
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Dave! The video was in the process of finishing up when I published this post. It will be making an appearance shortly!

    ReplyDelete

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