This week we drove out to Te Anau and Milford Sound for my first time, and Jessica’s second time. If you don’t know what Milford Sound is, you’re in for a real treat.
In the 1900’s, Rudyard Kipling (the guy who wrote The Jungle Book) called Milford Sound “the eighth wonder of the world.” In 2016, I call it “the most spectacular thing I have ever seen.”
Milford Sound is about a four hour drive from Queenstown. We wanted to get on an early Milford Cruise so we decided to stay in Te Anau the night before our cruise. Te Anau was a nice little town. Not much going on. Old people and tourists seemed to make up the population. Majority of the restaurants were closed because it’s winter. We skipped rocks on the beach and sat in a hot tub for an hour at the Top 10 Holiday Park.
Oh yeah, we also blazed and listened to Bob Marley – another ‘first’ for me. Yep, the town had a whole lot of nothingness to it, yet, I couldn’t help but think that I wouldn’t mind living there.
We got up at a decent hour the next morning and we hit the road to Milford Sound. Of course, we couldn’t do so without having a hearty and healthy breakfast consisting of sausage rolls and grease.
We ran into a lookout spot that had some Kea birds there. I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting these guys yet, so as a welcoming gift we thought we would share some sausage rolls with them.
If I knew the Kea birds were going to turn out to be little assholes later on in the day, I wouldn’t have fed them squat.
As we continued down our mysterious path we came across a place called Mirror Lakes. A sign read something about it looking beautiful on a “still” day. We looked at the water and it was moving and there wasn’t really much of a mirror effect. We were slightly disappointed. Until we took out our camera and took photos.
Somehow, the camera shows the mirror image on the water much better than what our eyes showed us in real life. It was quite the optical illusion seeing it through a lens, and how much better the mirror effect was. I guess our camera phones aren’t as shitty as we thought.
We got to Milford Sound and parked our car. We walked 10 minutes to the boatyard and then we saw this:
Booking a morning (10:30 a.m.) tour was the best decision we made. On this boat there was only about 25 people including the staff. The next ride after noon was to have around 80 people on it. The boat maxes out at 150 people. Needless to say, we had a ton of room for personal space and for a Q&A with Pirate Man Stu. Jess thinks pirates are all thieves. I think pirates are people who work on boats. We agreed to disagree.
They say that Milford Sound is one of the few places where it’s best to visit while it’s raining, and this is why…
Pirate Man Stu said that on one of the rock faces, there could be up to 190 something waterfalls at one time. He also said that a seal is one of the furriest creatures alive, having 300,000 hairs on one square inch of its body. Pirate Man Stu said he counted those numbers in both cases, and had to keep restarting because he was drinking beer. I apologise for not getting a picture of Pirate Man Stu, but he looked something like this:
On the cruise we came across two little penguins playing at the mouth of Milford Sound where it enters into the Tasman Sea. Unfortunately we didn’t see any dolphins. Maybe they all died because they didn’t get sausage rolls in time =(
As we transitioned from the Sound into the Tasman Sea, the water became quite bumpy and I started to feel a bit queasy. Thankfully, the boat just whipped a shitty and re-entered the Sound. Just FYI, in Canadian, to “whip a shitty” means to do a U-turn.
At one point, the captain drove the front of the boat under a waterfall so as to get some of the passengers wet. There was a wee 2 year old girl who got hit with her own body weight in water. Thankfully she had a rain suit and duck boots on. I bet the captain was laughing his ass off cuz I sure was.
Going on a Milford Sound Cruise was one of the most incredible things I have done in New Zealand. It’s right up there with skydiving, but it’s difficult to compare the two experiences which were different in every way, except that they were both breathtaking.
After visiting Milford Sound, I felt mentally and spiritually rejuvenated. All my stresses seemed to disappear after spending some time out there. I suppose nature does tend to have powerful effects on the soul.
I used the word “Revival” in the title of this post because I really do feel revived after taking a couple days off to see this epic part of New Zealand. I feel like I have a weight off my shoulders. Sometimes all it takes is a break from reality to get your head and your heart in check.
On the way out of Milford Sound – actually it’s not even a Sound it’s a Fiord. Fiords are created by glaciers, like Milford is, whereas Sounds are created from rivers. Some fun facts passed on from Pirate Man Stu. On the way out of Milford Fiord we ran across those friendly Keas again. We had to stop at this tunnel to wait for incoming traffic to pass. This gave the Keas a prime opportunity for maiming and pillaging.
They hopped on Jess’ car so I got out to shew them off. One of them pesky monsters reach inside and ripped the rubber lining inside the door with its beak. It had the shear strength of the Jaws of Life! And then I had a run in with the devil himself…
Keas are cool, but I hate them. Maybe it’s just because they are birds the size of a small dog.
Until next time, Kusz out!