Posts Tagged With: Milford Sounds

Majestic Milford Sounds

 

During the 14 days cruise we called into 10 ports including Sydney, the starting point, and Auckland the disembark port. So almost every day we had a different place to explore.

From Sydney and along the coast of Australia it was a full day sailing and then a stop at Melbourne. Then another full day sailing to Hobart, before leaving Australia behind and taking 2 days sailing across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. So 4 full days at sea gave us time to explore all the Oosterdam had to offer on board.

Milford Sounds was to be our first sight of New Zealand, or as the Māori name it, Aotearoa, “land of the long white cloud”. These large liners could not go into the Sounds unless the weather was calm. Two of our friends had been on recent cruises that had missed the spectacular cruise through this World Heritage area due to wild weather.

But we were lucky…

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 056_4000x3000

At 7am we rushed out to the Promenade Deck to see the misty, majestic cliffs of Milford Sounds slowly floating by.

We had been here before, but on a smaller boat. It was raining that day and the waterfalls were cascading down the sheer rock face. A very different experience to today. (Go here to see it)

“Milford Sounds has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor)[1][2] and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.[3] Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World.[4]“(Wikipedia)

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cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 012_4000x3000

This was the small boat we went in last time and quite a number of passengers had booked to take this tour which would take them closer to the waterfalls and further into the fiord.

cruise ship Milford Sounds jc 2 046_4000x2664

I took so many photos, it is mesmerizing.

cruise ship Milford Sounds jc 008_4000x2664

See how every one is dressed? It was very chilly on deck.

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By 11am we had moved through this fiord and could go inside and warm up with a cuppa and some food. But we still had 2 more fiords to cruise through. At 1pm we would be in Doubtful Sound

Dusky sound PC 044_4000x3000

By 1pm, as we sailed into Doubtful Sound, the mist had cleared and it can be seen why this land is called “the land of the long white cloud”

But the day is not over yet. At 3pm we sailed into Dusky Sound.

Slowly the mountain profile of this magical land disappears over the horizon and everyone on board is delighted that this time this huge liner was able to cruise through this very special place.

Now it was back to ship board life, as over night we sail to the next port of call. Tomorrow we wake up to Dunedin…

To be continued… 

 

Categories: cruise, Milford Sounds, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

This is Fiordland and Milford Sounds in beautiful weather, what a contrast to the day we visited, but stunning in all weather.
The stunning photos are brought over by re-blogging another wordpress post. I recomend you click on the link above to see more stunning photos of New Zealand

nzthroughphotos

There are those select few places on this planet of ours that inspire, dazzle, and astound beyond comprehension.  One of these special places is Fiordlands National Park, a collection of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, glacial valleys, and fiords tucked into the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island.  Seeing these kind of places is what I live for!  I was lucky enough to spend four days here with some friends following my time in Queenstown, four days that were spent fully in awe of the epic landscapes surrounding me.

The centerpiece of Fiordlands is Milford Sound, New Zealand’s iconic tourist destination and without a doubt one of the most spectacular places on Earth.  Several successive episodes of glaciation carved out a massive gouge in the ground, which has since been filled with the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea.  Impossibly steep cliffs line the fiord on both sides, with hundred…

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Categories: Milford Sounds, New Zealand | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Southern Alps, first snow of the season

Today I put another tick on my “bucket list” Milford Sounds I’d seen the photos, read the brochures, and always longed to go there…

At last a dream was to become reality.

Milford Sounds is in the heart of the Fiordland National Park. A world heritage area of immense beauty. Access was almost impossible until the Homer tunnel was opened in 1956. The tunnel is 1270 metres long and it had taken 30 years to build, most of it dug by hand. The road is often closed in winter due to heavy snow falls. Because of the distance, 300 kilometres, from Queenstown to the Sounds, we decided to go on a tourist bus. The pick up was 7am, dawn was just breaking and it had snowed over night. The first snow of the season. The peaks of the Remarkables Range rose above the cloud and glistened as the early morning sun lit them up. Willie, our coach driver, told us he had snow chains on board as the weather conditions can be so changeable.

Being on a coach trip has both its advantages and disadvantages. The road was a difficult drive needing all your attention, so being able to leave the driving to a professional I was free to absorb the scenery.  The downside is seeing all that beautiful and diverse landscapes zooming by at 100 kmph and not able to stop and take photos. Willie did have 2 stops arranged to take photos, along with 6 other tourist buses. It was to see the mirror lakes. A quick, very quick walk through the dripping, moss draped silver beech forest. The wispy, low cloud concealed most of the mountain and the mirror lakes only gave a brief glimpse of the mountain grandeur. The next stop was to see the Chasm formed over millions of years by nature. How I would like more time to take it all in. By now it was raining heavily…

Mirror Lake

Silver beech forest

Beautiful Punga and fern bush

The Chasm info board

The Chasm

It was raining

At each stop Willie urged us to hurry, hurry. “We don’t want to miss the boat that leaves at 1pm for the cruise along the Sounds”

So it was click, click. Look. click click. It was stunning, even in the rain…

We did get to Milford with 15 minutes to spare before the boat left. In the rain it was not the iconic picture that is in all the tourist brochures of blue skies and calm water, but it was mesmerizing to see the dark foreboding bulk of the sheer sided mountains rising from the grey waters with hundreds of waterfalls cascading down. This was seeing the true face of this area. With an annual rainfall of 36 feet, that is what has formed and created this amazing landscape.

Hundreds of waterfalls

Annual rainfall 36feet

Photo opportunities

 

This is usually shown in tourist brochures with blue skies

 

A much needed cuppa

I was very pleased that Willie was driving us the 300km back to Queenstown. It had been a full and rewarding day. The atmosphere, aura and spirit of this unique place was more intense in the rain. On reflection I felt it had been special to see it in this mood.

It was 7pm when we arrived back at the hostel. Great to change out of damp clothes, have a hot shower and linger over a glass of wine thinking of the day.

Well tomorrow we head north into the Mackenzie country…

 

Categories: Milford Sounds, New Zealand | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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