12 June 2010

New Zealand Jan 2001 - Milford Sound

Not a walk, but part of my original diary, so here it is.

I'd originally intended to have only walks in this blog, but I'll toss this little day trip in, as it was a feature of our first NZ visit. Oh, and we did do a little kayaking and walking...

A great part about Milford is driving there. The road tunnel which takes you through to Milford is a really spooky place, being only just wide enough for two directions, and full of fog. It is like driving into a dragon's mouth. On the return journey, just after the tunnel, we met some keas (NZ parrots) who were very interested in our hire car. With their highly inquisitive nature and strong beak, they have made car demolition an art form, and have been known to pull all the rubber from around a windscreen, causing it to fall in! Car aerials are often chiropractically adjusted and windscreen wipers used for jousting.

Known as "the drain of NZ", Milford Sound boasts over 7 metres of rain a year. So all those photos you see of Milford Sound shining in the sun, sparkling waterfalls cascading straight into the sea? Well, your chances are better in summer, but overall, it'll more likely rain. As it turned out, the sun shone for us for about ten minutes as we got on the tour boat.
Either way, Milford Sound is quite stunning, and boatload after boatload after boatload of tourists are taken up past Mitre Peak, the Lion, the Elephant, waterfalls etc out to the heads and back.

Wanting to experience Milford a little more intimately, we enlisted for a kayaking/walking trip. Unfortunately, this was not on the main bay, so we missed the seals and dolphins shown on the brochure. However, we backtracked the Milford track a bit, under the guidance of "Wicked Dave", who made a pretty mean scroggin, and had a speech defect whereby all advectival utterances (eg "Fantastic!" "That's funny" "Great") were replaced with the word "Wicked".

As promised by statistical probability, we got some weather. That's Mitre Peak in the middle.

As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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