South Island, Pt. 16: Milford Road

This is it; my final trip on the South Island! This is also the only trip where I paid for a proper tour. If you want to properly explore Milford Sound you need to pay someone with a boat…I went with Go Orange (who didn’t pay me to plug them, though if someone from Go Orange is reading and you want to hook me up then I’m all ears) and was entirely pleased.

This post will be mostly the trip to the sound, as I have enough pictures of the sound itself to warrant their own post.

All pictures in this post will be from the Nikon. I left my phone behind because I thought it might perish in the wet, which as you will see turned out to be quite a good idea.

When I pointed my camera toward Te Anau, this is what I saw. Overcast, mildly rainy, not bad.

Pointing at Milford Sound, this is what I see. Even for such a wet place, the weather was wet that particular day.

I had been advised that rain is not a bad thing when touring Milford Sound; it makes the waterfalls and runoff all that more impressive. I have to agree, though perhaps the rain could have been a little less hard that day. Ah, well, I have some great pictures of some Misty Mountains!

Such as this one right here, for instance :)

The bus loaded up in Te Anau very close to my hostel. Everything in Te Anau is very close to everything else, but the place where it loaded up is even closer than most things. The bus comes all the way from Queenstown, so those not interested in coming all the way out to Te Anau can still enjoy Milford Sound (I love Queenstown, but Te Anau is pretty great too. Definitely don’t give it a miss if you’re touring the South Island).

We took heaps of photo breaks. This one is at the Mirror Lakes, which apparently on a clear day are almost as reflective as their name suggests.

I love how clever this sign is. As you can see, even on a rainy day the lakes are amazingly clear and reflective.

Although I mostly tried to eliminate people from my shots, here’s what it was actually like. This is why I don’t particularly love tour groups; it’s a much less personal experience. But what’cha gonna do?

We spent about 15 minutes at the lovely Mirror Lakes before saddling back up and heading on down the road. Our driver wanted to head out quickly so we can get ahead of some of the slower buses which were in front of us. I like his style.

In this really cool photo, you can see one of the things that makes Milford Sound famous: the runoff from the mountains creates hundreds of tiny waterfalls all down the cliff sides.

The runoff comes both from rain and from melting snow. As you can see in this photo, even in late Summer there’s still some snow left on the higher peaks!

I Zoomed and Enhanced the snow a bit. It was too wet outside to change to the big lens or else I’d have zoomed more!

Right before the Sound we stopped off at a bridge. Look at this river! I would not like to be in this river tied to a log with a talking llama that’s actually an emperor, that’s for sure! (Bring it on!).

As we walked along the bridge, we saw the high ridge surrounding the sound. The impressive waterfalls coming down the cliff gave us a little teaser of what was to come.

And it’s with this teaser that I will leave you. Come join me next post for a rather wet cruise through the Sound itself! See you then!

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