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Ultimate Queenstown

Milford Sound - Coach & Cruise Day Tour

Milford Sound - Coach & Cruise Day Tour

Posted by Kate Fahey: 3rd Jun 2014 @ 14:21:19

I won't lie, the coach trip to Milford Sound is an early start, real early. Being on holiday means it's quite hard to set that alarm and get out of bed, but boy is it worth it!

Following the shores Lake Wakatipu out of Queenstown you drive by the Remarkables mountains rising over 2000 metres above you. Your driver and host gives commentary as you drive through the country side pointing out any interesting facts about the area and its history.

Two hours later you arrive in the lakeside town of Te Anau, where you get the chance to stretch the legs and grab some morning tea. Then back on the bus for another 2 hours along the infamous Milford Road.

The drive from Te Anau to Milford is certainly stunning and there are some fantastic little stops along the way to give you the opportunity to take it all in. First stop on my trip was Mirror Lakes, a gorgeous little boardwalk winds its way down to the small lakes with a view out over the valley reflecting the Earl Mountains.

Next up, The Homer Tunnel. At an altitude of 945 m above sea level it pierces through the sheer granite rock wall to allow road access to Milford Sound. The tunnel was built in the depression commencing in 1936 with completion of the 1.2km tunnel in 1953. An extraordinary achievement and an impressive sight, the one way tunnel is controlled by traffic lights which usually gives you the chance to jump out and take some snaps of the hanging glaciers and waterfalls on the cliffs above.

Heading through the tunnel into the next valley the road slopes 1 metre in every 10, dropping quickly into the native beech forest below. We pass a couple of cheeky Kea's on top a tourist's car, they're curious birds and can be quite destructive. The native alpine parrots love rubber and will destroy car windows and wipers in no time.

Another stop to stretch the legs at The Chasm is a fantastic chance to walk through the lush green temperate rainforest of Fiordland National Park and appreciate the sheer amount of rainfall this place gets. Then just a few more minutes down the road is our destination, Milford Sound. When they say “it's not the destination but the journey that counts” this is certainly true of this day tour, however this destination is incredibly spectacular!

The perfect autumn day I travelled on provided blue skies and sunshine, but I was exceptionally lucky. It rains here a lot! With an annual rainfall of approximately 7 metres across 182 days a year, Milford Sound is known as the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand. But rain or shine this place is owe-inspiring. Towering cliffs, dramatic waterfalls, wildlife, rainforest and pure New Zealand beauty.

I boarded the Real Journeys Nature Cruise on the Milford Mariner. The nature guide was informative and entertaining and the vessel was a beautiful old style sailing boat, although the sails are just for looks. Cruising the full length of the fiord, we spent 2 hours exploring Milford Sound and all of its treasures. We were lucky enough to get up close to a couple of Fiordland seals, one little pup hopping along the rocks behind its mum. The boat pulled in under a couple of waterfalls too, allowing the adventurous few to brave the cold and get in touch with nature.

I have visited Milford Sound three times now and I know it won't be the last. All in all an absolute must do experience in New Zealand and comes highly recommended!

Check out the Ultimate TV Video of our experience in Milford Sound.

For more information on the road to Milford Sound: Department of Consevation

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