For anyone planning a trip to the beautiful New Zealand, one simply cannot afford to miss out on experiencing Milford Sound. A fjord in the South West of the country’s South Island, Milford Sound is stunning, massive, pristine, and awe-inspiring. It was voted the world’s top travel destination in the 2008 Traveller’s Choice Destination Awards.
Tourists can travel the fjord via a number of types of transport but the most popular option is to cruise Milford Sound. Boats take hundreds of tourists each day along the Fiordland National Park, past the mountains and waterfalls, all the way out to the mouth of the Tasman Sea. Different companies offer different tours but the best opportunities come in small boats where the service is friendly and personal, and the cruise uncrowded. A smaller boat also places you, the tourist, closer to nature and wildlife, and more in touch with the experience. Feel the spray of the waterfalls on your face as you snap your third reel of film because Milford Sound is just so photogenic.
As you cruise Milford Sound you will be taken through all the natural highlights by your cruise operator. They will tell you about Sinbad Gully where the Kakapo bird, once thought to be extinct, was rediscovered. They will show you Seal Rock, so named for its adorably furry inhabitants present all year round and native to the land of the long white cloud. They will take you to Mitre Peak, one of the tallest mountains in the world to rise directly from the sea floor; Mt Kimberly shaped like a crouching lion; and the Pembroke glacier which is over a million years old. These attractions are all before without even mentioning the Cascade Range and Milford Sound’s permanent and semi-permanent waterfalls that drop as far as 160 meters into the sound. With an annual rainfall of 5626mm and an average 180 rain days, there is always at least a few waterfalls guaranteed to be gushing when you visit. A cruise in Milford Sound is one activity that only gets better with wet weather, the rainfall adding to the magic of the mountains and the ferocity of the falls.
Milford Sound, with scenery as beautiful as it is, cannot be expected to be kept exclusive for the tourists. The fjord shares its lush rain forests and pristine waters with lots of fantastic and entertaining wildlife. As you cruise Milford Sound you are guaranteed to spot seals, penguins, sea birds and dolphins as they frolic and pose for photos. If you are lucky, you may also see a whale or two. The best way to get among the wildlife of the sound is to choose a cruise.
The main reason that people love to cruise Milford Sound is that a boat allows you to see the impressive cliff faces and mountains from sea-level. One cannot appreciate the sheer size and humbling effect of nature until they are looking up at it from below and surrounded by it from all sides.