If an adventure offer is laid out on the table, wanna know my advice? Take it! & that’s exactly what I did.
While in Bali, the gals threw out a potential Milford trip the weekend after I returned (forever grateful it was the weekend after I returned home, thanks to the food poisoning I brought home with me… but that’s another story) My innate panic about packing for a weekend away kicked in the moment I started to pack. I don’t know if anyone else is like me, literally panicking about how many pairs of socks to take away on an overnight trip?
Our head guide / driver / fastest hiker in the world unfortunately struck an illness the night prior to departure but like the true explorer she is managed to pull through while napping in the back of the car en route to Milford while I rode shotgun (hallelujah for car sickness) & Zemira safely transported us into the magical world of Fiordland.
Theres something so great about being on trip with like-minded humans. By likeminded humans I mean nature frothers, photographers and Instagram Queens. The ray of light we all spotted and wanted to stop for was captured beautifully, the mood that greeted us as we exited the homer tunnel was played with, all the while dodging the tour buses swinging their way round those narrow roads. We took it slow and stopped when our creative brains wanted, which made for a beautiful scenic ride deeper into Fiordland National park.
The weather that greeted us when we reached Milford was to die for. I mean it was raining, cloudy and overcast but c’mon who doesn’t love that Milford mood? I think anyone else may have been a wee bit disappointed but we were out of the car quicker than a kea could steal your picnic. Frolicking in the mist and rain, taking it in turns to photograph each other under the majestic Mitre Peak, the swing was also a great find and all was going swimmingly until one hungry sandfly decided to give Zem some natural lip fillers.
Now sporting her Kylie Jenner style / mother nature incident we tanked back to Te Anau for homemade pumpkin soup (just call me Ramsay) and a well needed rest. Cut to about four hours later. The ice box we were staying in was dropping in temperature by the minute and I took to hammering the temp up button on the heater to no avail. At least when my alarm went off an hour later I was already deliriously awake and ready for a sunrise mission. First mission however was a sprint to the shower block in the freezing cold to warm bones, fingers and facial muscles.
I can’t quite put in to words how magical the sunrise was. The whole sky was a pasty white colour, then out of nowhere turned the most beautiful pastel pink, intensified and then faded welcoming the new day. We used the jetty to our advantage & the dream like reflections before rushing what for toward the boiling kettle to warm our fingers and toes!
Key Summit was on the agenda today. An hours drive back through Fiordland brought us to the divide. Snacks packed, water bottles filled and off we went. The walk is pretty easy, a steady incline for around 1.5 hours – this is of course is if you include all the photos stops we did. When you reach the tree line the whole world opens up before your eyes. Looking down into Fiordland national park, surrounded by mountains, the native bush, the sun shining & the cool air. I had a sudden realisation, this is where I was meant to be, right here, right then, hiking and connecting with the beauty that surrounded us.
I pretty much floated to the summit, high on the adventure and never-ending snow-capped mountains. The boardwalk will lead you straight to a tarn which perfectly reflects the Humboldt and Darran Mountains opposite. After carefully navigating the sinking bog and walking further along the boardwalk for another pano view and a sneaky glimpse at Lake Marian, we descended, filled with content.
Our drive home was slow and quiet. A pit stop for sour cream with a side of wedges, I kid you not it was pretty much a bowl of mr whippy style sour cream in Te Anau we headed home.
Home… Queenstown, wait one second while I pinch myself again. What an adventure!