So it was coming close, the end of the snow season was nearly upon us and I had a very special visitor coming to town. One of my closest friends from home and the girl who got me through university life alive was here (she made sure I ate, got enough sleep and kept my sanity) I was ready to run and jump on her as soon as I saw her emerge through the crowd in the street, my first slice of home and over a year since we had parted ways in Sydney, it was long overdue. After a quick catch up in Cookie Time and over a few wines in the pub I was ready for her to come home with me so we could have a fun-filled weekend. Kate had flown from England straight to NZ to join the Kiwi bus crew and have a crazy adventure. Any trip to the South Island would be incomplete without a trip to the Sounds.
I had done my research and Milford Sound was at the top of my list. After searching through the various tour agents that make their way down there daily we settled for Jucy Milford. After a much needed night of pizza and films we headed to bed early to rise with the sun. Our picnic packed and eagerly outside far to early for the big green bus. We headed straight for the back to give ourselves the chance to have a nap before the sun came up. We didn’t want to miss any of the scenery on the way down so it was only a quick snooze, during the drive to Milford it rained, it snowed, the sun came out, the wind picked up then it rained some more… not great for the view but also unsettling for our day out, even though Milford Sound is beautiful whatever the weather. When the sun is shining you can see the mountains in all their glory, when it rains the waterfalls really put on a show. Our coach driver was incredible, she was full of knowledge, humour and regular toilet stops much to my delight.
After a quick stop in Te Anau where we misplaced a coach passenger we were on the road to Milford (coach passenger you got told where and when to return to the coach, the driver is not to blame and we all hope you had a great day in Te Anau) The road to Milford is beautiful, we made regular stops to make sure we could take it all in. Mirror Lake is a popular rest on the way down there and unfortunately today there was a slight wind so not as mirrored as we would have hoped. When we finally, after a good few hours stopped at Milford it was all go to get on the boat. Now these boats are pretty big and you are going to get a great view from wherever you are but in good old tourist fashion everyone wanted on first, we hung back and boarded when it wasn’t crazy.
After all the bad weather on the bus down it was inevitable that the weather going to be pretty crap for the cruise, low and behold Mother Nature was on our side. The sun was shining, the wind had dropped and Mitre Peak was looking incredible on this fine day. The boat cruise takes over an hour and you sail right out to the mouth of the sound, when you are in the open water looking back you can see how Captain Cook sailed past twice as he explored the Fiordland coast. The mountains and land come together as one and the landscape is so majestic it would appear to be quiet threatening to your sail boat back in the day. Anyhow we didn’t waste anytime getting those perfect photographs, armed with my camera and my GoPro I ran around the top deck of the boat having a jolly old time. The wind was so so cold but I was determined to stay on top of the boat. I didn’t want to miss anything as we sailed back through the Fiord and everyone else had retired inside the boat so we pretty much had the top to ourselves.
As an added bit of fun our captain who had driven this boat for at least 40 years took us right under one of the waterfalls, we missed the memo to get inside and take cover so we did our best to shield ourselves around the far side. The sheer size and sound of the waterfall was incredible and after escaping a natural shower the boat was heading back to dock. If anyone is planning a trip to the south, Milford needs to be on your top ten of things to do! It is beautiful and a true picture of Mother Nature kicking butt! Back on the coach we were prepping for the hefty drive home, our sandwich supply had been truly demolished and I was getting comfy, I didn’t want to sleep until it went dark outside so I stayed up and listened to the coach driver, again she was hilarious and informed us that was the only trip she had ever driven down in bad weather to get amazing weather on the Fiord, so we were pretty lucky. After some very interesting facts about NZ wildlife we buckled up and enjoyed the film ‘whale rider’ A Maori film that deserved my full attention but as soon as the sun set I was away counting sheep until we hit Queenstown. We had an incredible day and one I am so happy I got to share with my dear friend.