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Another perfect day. The weather worked out for us once again. When we woke up the first thing Amy said was “shit it is raining”. We thought our day was ruined but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

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Milford Sound is quite a far distance from Queenstown so the tour began bright and early with a 7am pickup. We went with a company called “The BBQ Bus” due to its great reviews, small group size, and you guessed it, the BBQ.

On the way to Milford Sound we stopped through many small towns and quite villages. Kingston (40min), Five Rivers (30min), Mossburn (20min) the self-proclaimed Deer Capital of New Zealand, Te Anua (44min), and finally to Milford (80min). 3.5 hours each way not including stops!

The stops, however, were very much worth it. The first was the “Misty Mountains” as featured on the Lord of the Rings.

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Mirror Lakes. Which due to rain weren’t quite as Mirror like, but we got the rainbow.

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The water was so clear.

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Monkey Creek, pristine, pure water said to give eternal youth. Daryl fillied up with some magical water.

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Waterfalls were everywhere along the drive.

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“The Chasm”, a series of waterfalls and mostly strangely shaped rocks and potholes resulting from thousands of years of swirling water that have sculpted round shaped basins in the rock.

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Homer Tunnel, dug using hand tools. Started in 1935, opened to traffic in 1945. A coach bus would almost scrape the roof.IMG_5257

To back track a bit it turns out Milford Sound is not actually a sound at all, but rather a fiord. (Reminder, since we needed one as well, a sound originates from a river while a fiord originates from a glacier.) Turns out all of the “sounds” in the area are actually fiords. Hence the name “Fiordlands”

Formidable Fiordland is NZ’s largest and most impenetrable wilderness, a jagged mountainous, densely forested landmass ribbed with deep recessed sounds (which are technically fiords) reaching inland like crooked fingers from the Tasman Sea.

Milford Sound itself, upon first sight, is stunning. Sheer rock cliffs rise out of still, dark waters, and forests clinging to the slopes sometimes relinquish their hold, causing a “tree avalanche” into the waters. The spectacular, photogenic 1692m-high Mitre Peaks rises dead ahead.

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Hundreds of waterfalls were on the rock faces throughout the sound. In reality, only two of these are actually permanent. The rest were all a result of the rains taking place and would all disappear within hours after the rains stopped. On the tail end of the boat tour the sun came out and the waterfalls started disappearing.

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How many waterfalls can you see?

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We got double rainbows.IMG_5419

The boat got really close to a waterfall. We both got wet.

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It started to clear up on our way back.IMG_5490IMG_5515

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We also had a delicious BBQ on the boat. (While constantly pausing to run out and take pictures).

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Until next time…

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