With our newly-acquired campervan-ing skills now fully entrenched in our repertoire of “cool skills”, we headed for Milford Sound. It’s almost a five hour drive, and believe me when I say that by hour three, you’re starting to think, “This thing better be worth it!”. It’s worth it.
The drive is quite spectacular, through glacial valleys and lupin-lined streams, then through fern forests where the cloud hangs level with the roof of your vehicle and you can actually feel the frigid air coming off the snow on the surrounding mountain-tops.
We had a cruise of the Sound booked for the following morning, and much to my dismay, the weather wasn’t looking promising when we woke up. The mist was so thick and water-heavy, the clouds so low, and I thought we would be experiencing a torrential downpour at any moment.
There are so many cruises available, and most of them had about 15-20 people on boats with the capacity to seat 200. My advice would be to wait for a fine day, then head down to Milford Sound early in the morning and board the cruise of your choice.
So the Sound itself- what’s all the fuss about? We cruised the entire Sound, all the way to the open Tasman Sea. It’s humbling to stand on the deck of a boat and have towering snow-topped mountains on every side of you. In fact in Summer, that snow is melting so rapidly that everywhere you look are hundred-metre-high waterfalls filling the Sound. The rocks along the edges are home to seal colonies, and the whole thing is a bit awe-inspiring when you consider it was calved out by a glacier millions of years ago (which technically makes it a fjord).
Add the swirling mists and dense forests, and it sort of feels as though someone has plunked you in the middle of one of those “The Land Before Time” movies. Pretty cool.