Stop #19: Milford Sound

Number of nights: 2
Distance: 108 KM (4,421 KM Total)

Simply put, Milford Sound was gorgeous. Looking back, I feel very lucky that we were able to experience it the way we did. Most tourists go on day trips from Queenstown, where they ride a tour bus for 4 hours, take a 90 minute boat cruise, then ride back for another 4 hours. This leaves little time for photos and exploration in between.

We were lucky enough to stay at Milford Sound’s only campsite for 2 nights, which allowed us to view the scenery at any time of the day. Trust me, we took advantage of this opportunity and returned half a dozen times during out stay (it was only a 5 minute drive from the campsite).

What’s interesting about Milford Sound is that there isn’t a town per se, it’s really just a port, and the necessary lodging for the staff. There’s no general store or gas station, just a (really nice) tourist center and a gigantic parking lot for all the tour buses. Because Milford Sound is so remote, all the buses leave by 3:00 pm to get back to civilization, leaving us alone with the beautiful scenery.

This was taken when we first arrived, at a spot which we would end up returning to often.
Walking along the port’s breakwater. Most pictures of Milford Sound are taken 180 degrees from this view. The surrounding mountains were just as impressive.
We woke up early for sunrise, but we were met with cloud cover. We were a little worried that it was going to stay like this for the rest of the day, but it cleared up a few hours later.
This was taking on the same morning as the previous photo, taken just a few hours later.
The obligatory boat cruise along Milford Sound. It was choppy and windy, but Dominique was prepared for the elements!
This is the other end of the sound, looking back from where we came. This was about as far as we went before circling back.
Ahhh, the good life!
The surrounding mountains are impressive to say the least, but you only get a true sense of scale when a ship passes in front.
We passed under a waterfall at one point, and you can see the mist from it in the distance.
We have a tradition of always taking a photo of the flag in back of the boat we’re on, so here it is. In the background you can see the falls we passed under earlier.
Bowen falls, which is partially man-made, as it is used as both a water source and to provide electricity for the Milford Sound settlement.
Around the Milford Sound settlement were a few short trails that lead to additional vistas. None of them took more than 20 minutes to do, probably designed that way for the tour bus visitors who were short on time.
I think this swing had a little Instagram trademark engraved on its side.
Dominique waiting for her ship to come in.
We had the place to ourselves!
This was on our last night at Milford Sound. Sunset was earlier than expected because of how steep the surrounding mountains were. It made for some beautiful colours along the peaks.
We met this fella on the way out of Milford Sound at a lookout called “The Chasm”. It’s a Kea, the only true alpine parrot in the world. Although green in colour, the underside of their wings is a bright orange. Beautiful plumage!