Milford Sound

Time to move from Queenstown – next destination Milford SoundUkaž na mapě. But before that we had time to do another river – the Citroen rapid on Kawarau river. Went there with our friends who do it almost every day and it was pretty good, even there is really just one short rapid. Anyway, it was perfect exercise for our hangover 🙂

Milford Sound is a bit far away, it took quite some time to get there and as it was dark there wasn’t anything interesting on the way. Rain the whole time, the weather would be perfect there. Finally we found first DOC camp on the way there and had at least short sleep, before moving further.

In the morning – nothing changed, still the same rain. Milford Sound is awesome, waterfalls everywhere, you cannot see the tops of the hills around you, you can just feel them. Strange feeling but I really liked it. Just shame that the rain is pretty strong and we’re too lazy to get out and take some pictures, actually it is really hard to do it and stay at least a bit dry.

Milford Sound in rainy day

There is tunnel on the way there, which allowed tourist to get there quite quickly and comfortably, before it was just few of them, who were brave enough to get into this isolated place on boats. As we were waiting to get through the tunnel, which looks pretty unfinished, we saw a kea – the local bird, which was completly wet and a bit anoyed from it.

Wet kea

After the tunnel the rain was probably even stronger. The village itself is pretty small, you have quite problem to really find it. There is just boat terminal and a hotel or two and there should be some submarine, as we read in guide book. Unfortunately it is there anymore – really pity, we wanted to go with it.

As the weather was really bad we decided not to go on a boat trip and try some river around instead. Tutoko river is just next to the village and you have to bring your boat up there, so we went for a walk at first and after several hours returned back to car and decided not to go – a lot of rocks in the river and as it was really long walk somewhere, it was just short distance on the river, so it wasn’t worth it.

Walk around Tutoko river

Went back to nearest DOC camp (there is heap of them), had a dinner and tried tu survive the weather – we aren’t used to it.

The second day we woke up really late, but it was still raining. Had some debate whether to stay here or not and finally decided to stay another day or two as the weather should be better. As we were running out of fuel (again :-)) we went to Hollyford valley, where is an emergency petrol station. The petrol was really expensive – 2,5$/l while normal price is about 1,7$/l – but it was worth it. There was an old pump which you had to pump with your hand and it was really nice. At it was even possible to pay by card, you just needed the embossed one (which Tomas never saw and was quite shocked with the technology).

Emergency petrol station

It was time for some walk, the weather was almost fine (at least no rain) and we decided for walk to Lake Marian. It is about 1,5hour uphill and worth every meter you have to go. Beautiful large lake with some waterfalls falling in it, peaks of the hills around in clouds and it looks like the Sun should be here in a while.

Lake Marian

When we returned to our car we decided to stay in the Gunn’s camp (where we took petrol before) as it was really close and had a shower there. Was a bit shocked with the amount of sand flies there as it was the first place we saw them here – they weren’t in the reception nor at the parkplace at the end of our walk. Later we found why – there was a gate (just small simply gate from wood) with this sign, and all sand flies obeyd it.

Anti sand flies sign

They have here a museum, glow worms, old tree (like 1200years old) and remains of the only Irish skydiver who tried to jump here. Electricity is generated by diesel plant and cut at 10pm and hot water goes from boiler heated by wood. And there is no mobile service. I really loved this camp, you can even sleep in cabins here (and they look pretty nice from outside).

Last they in Milford Sound and we have sunny day – time to go for a boat cruise. Its captain is pretty fun guy, he described all the place on boat and that it even have a sun deck, which they usually call rain deck (just to give you an idea they have mostly rainy days here). He also told us that it isn’t actually a sound (valley created by river) but fiord (valley created by glacier), it is pretty deep (around 300m) and have a fresh water on top (up to 15m) – and this fresh water is responsible for different underwater live. So, there are corals and other ocean animals in much lower depth than usually.

Milford Sound

We saw seals and got another funny comment – they have just men seals here and they do what men can do best – eat, chat about women, fight and sleep. Finalyl they are old enough (and smelly enough) so they go to find a woman and they usually have about 10-14 of them, they all are pregnant at the same time and when they gave a birth they get pregnant again – so not much fun with them.

There is a Tasman sea and it is called Tasman, because on the other end is the Tasman Island. And there should be some small island called Australia as well, but he wasn’t sure about it 🙂

The sail was awesome but probably in rain it is better as it was pretty dry now. There is a lot of waterfalls everywhere, but most of them just after rain and they disappear quite quickly. We also went really close to the Stirling Falls and get a bit wet. The bravest of us was on the front deck, the rest on sun deck or inside the boat.

Stirling Falls

We also visited the Underwater Observatory, which is about 10 meters deep and you can see here sea life which is usually in about 50 meters – all of this because of the fresh water which blocks a lot of the Sun.

Underwater Observatory

Before we left Milford Sound we took a short stroll there and took some really nice pictures of Miter Peak.

Miter Peak

And it was time to leave, there is a lot of lookouts on the way out and we stopped just for the Mirros Lakes. However, they didn’t work in this windy weather and it wasn’t that nice

Mirror Lakes

Big shopping at Te Anau and moving again. We went to Clifden CavesUkaž na mapě, which are freely accessible caves just next to the road. We went in and get to the end, where was a deep pool we were scared to get around, so we returned and tried it from the other end and it looked like it should be possible. Anyway, it was interesting filling in our programme, there wasn’t a lot of decoration inside, just a lot of stupid inscriptions everywhere.

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