Did you know?
– Rudyard Kipling described Milford Sounnd as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.
– It was carved by glaciers during the ice ages.
– It’s not a sound at all, it’s a fiord. At the time of discovery, no one had any knowledge of fiords, and it wasn’t until later (after it had already been named) that people understood the difference. If you are interested in a bit of our geography learning, a sound is a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay, deeper than a bight, and wider than a fiord; or a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land. A fiord is formed by glaciers.
. The water is inky black for two reasons: firstly, it’s hundreds of meters deep, and secondly, there’s a combination of darkened fresh water and sea water. During one of the many rainfalls that happen in the area, the water drains from the lush forests that surrounds Milford Sound and washes a tannin which stains the water the colour of strong tea. There’s approximately 6 meters of fresh water that sit on top of the ocean water, which blocks out the light.
Having stayed in misty Manapouri, on the west of South Island the night before, the drizzly weather did not bode well for a boat trip on the Sound.
View over Manapouri Lake…
We were reassured that Milford Sound is breathtaking in any weather, but nevertheless we were pretty ecstatic when the sun shone for us!
We chose to go out with Fiordland Tours, as recommended by our lovely homestay hosts (who we’ll tell you more about later!). Jonny, the tour guide and bus driver, was hilarious and regaled us with funny tales as well as so much geographical information; it was one of the best trips we have been on because of him! We were fascinated by the way candy floss clouds snakes around the lush forested mountains…
Jonno drove us an hour and a half up to Milford Sound from Te Anau, and along the way we stopped to admire mountain peaks, mirror lakes and clear streams.
Before you reach Milford Sound, the road passes through a tunnel in the mountainside; it’s incredible how such a passage was constructed!
Once there, Jonno left us with the capable cruise crew. Gently floating out across the still dark water, the scenery leaves you dumpfounded: it’s gobsmackingly-beautiful, eye wateringly-magnificent and awe-inspiringly stunning!
Words cannot do justice to the way the fiord’s cliffs rise proudly from the waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards from as high as 1000 metres.
Lola and Albie (obviously!) couldn’t resist getting as close to one of those waterfalls as they possibly could, as our boat moved in for a closer look…
The journey back to Te Anau was as beautiful as our outward journey, and Jonno stopped at different places…we’ll let the photos tell you more…
Arriving back in the evening, we excitedly regaled our day’s tales to our farmstay hosts for the night. Come morning, we were refreshed enough to milk their goats, whilst donned in their farm coats (check out Jake’s…suits him, yes?!).
We’ll leave you with this thought…slow down, keep your eyes and ears open, and find beauty right in front of you.