Cruising Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a fiord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It is a world renowned natural wonder with towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and amazing wildlife. I would LOVE to be able to say that I took the above imagine, but alas, we did not have such great weather on the day that we visited Milford Sound. <Source of Image> Truthfully, the weather could have been A LOT WORSE, but still I was a little bummed that we didn’t get a pretty blue-skied day. There were a few gloomy, and rather cold, days on the South Island, but we had an amazing time, nevertheless!
The park is part of Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Milford Sound is the jewel of Fiordland National Park – a hidden secret waiting to be discovered.
Despite its name, Milford Sound is actually a fiord, not a sound. It is also the only fiord in New Zealand that is accessible by road. However, its remote location, bounded by steep cliffs and dense rainforest, means its special features remain unspoilt. Rain or shine, Milford Sound continues to captivate even the most experienced traveller with its beautiful surroundings, ink-dark waters, gushing waterfalls and captivating views.
What is a Fiord?
A fiord (or fjord) is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion. There are many fjords on the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Chile, Greenland, Iceland, the Kerguelen Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Novaya Zemlya, Labrador, Nunavut, Newfoundland, Scotland, and Washington state.
Milford Sound is known for it’s towering Mitre Peak, rainforests and waterfalls, which plummet down its sheer sides. We took a 2 hour cruise through the sound on a large spacious vessel. While onboard we enjoyed a tasty buffet lunch, beautiful views, and even a shower under one of the waterfalls coming off the side of a cliff.
We booked through Go Orange Cruise. Check out their website HERE.
Queenstown to Milford Sound
The drive to Milford Sound is awe-inspiring, reaffirming Fiordland’s status as a World Heritage Site. Milford Sound is 288km from Queenstown (4 hours 15 minutes) and 121km from Te Anau (2 hours 15 minutes). We drove from Queensland to Milford Sound, did our cruise, and then drove to Te Anau to spend the night in a wooden cabin.
Choosing to drive to Milford Sound by car in your own time can be a rewarding experience. We stopped a couple of times along the way to enjoy the natural beauty that this amazing area of the world has to offer.
Our vessel, the Milford Haven, was quite a large one. We were relieved to find out that our boat was not crowded at all. In fact, it wasn’t even half booked up. There was tons of space for us to walk around and enjoy the views of the surroundings. Both from the inside, and the outside, of the vessel.
Having Eli in the Ergo carrier definitely makes these experiences a lot more controlled. If we are on the top deck of a ship/ ferry, it is much safer to have him on one of us. When we are inside, he generally explores along on foot, unless the ship is rocking from side to side too much.
A Buffet Lunch Onboard
During our cruise, we were called inside to enjoy a tasty lunch buffet. Salad, a sausage, a pork chop, a bun, and a little tub of ice cream. We all thoroughly enjoyed the meal, especially the ice cream…
We stopped to take some pictures next to one of the waterfalls. When the captain told us that he was going to take the boat up close to the water, we were all quite excited. The thought of being showered with glacial water sounded quite intriguing – even if it was a rather chilly day!
We all got quite soaked, and loved every minute of it.
After our cruise, we took a walk through a forested area to get back to our car. We were all smiles and full of happiness after the fun we had experienced onboard the ship. A little damp, and ready to get back on the road, we changed clothes as soon as we got back to our car. We still had a 2-3 hour drive to do before we could put our feet up and call it a day.
The views along the drive were nothing short of spectacular! I wanted Justin to stop SO MANY TIMES… not only for me, but so that he could enjoy the views too. The driver really doesn’t get to see as much as his co-pilot!
Look at these views…
We spent that evening in wooden cabin lodging that we found on AirBnb. It was dark when we arrived, so it wasn’t easy to get to our cabin, but with some flashlights, we figured it out. It wasn’t freezing, but it was cold enough to want to light a fire as we went to sleep that night. To be honest, we didn’t need a fire at all… but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
It was only the next morning that we got to see the beautiful views from our cabin.