We had a ton of things to do and places to go penciled in for New Zealand.
Like always when traveling though, some stuff got sacrificed to the travel gods, others got moved into the “we’ll get it next time” column, but some got re-traced with bold, black ink and we got them done by golly. Taking a cruise on Milford Sound (bold black ink, get it?) was one of the few, the proud, the survivors.
After a raucous St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Queenstown featuring two runs to the world famous Fergburger, plenty of Guinness under the sun, and even a spotting of a dude running down the street in a Borat-inspired neon green Mankini, it was off to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is one of the most iconic natural sights in New Zealand, no doubt about it. While a debate is constantly raging over whether it's Milford or Doubtful Sound that takes your breath away swifter or deeper, a quick Googling will show you can’t go wrong with either. Most people make Milford Sound a day trip from Queenstown, sandwiching the cruise in the middle of ten hours of bus travel or jet into the sound for the cruise and fly back out. We decided to actually stay two nights a stone's throw from Milford Sound at the Milford Sound Lodge, lodged deep within Fjordland National Park. The lodge was a tasty appetizer as our cabin was actually more sleek and modern than creaky and old and was nestled next to a babbling brook, against a backdrop of jagged peaks, and under some of the shiniest stars I have ever seen.
|My kind of cabin|
It was a quick stroll the next day to our main course; Milford Sound. Once our Jucy Cruize ship set sail under a cloudless southern sky, I knew it was going to be one of the best days of the trip. Little did I know, I was going to end up really needing that sun. Our cruiser was one of the smaller ships on the Milford Sound that day, but that was great because it was able to get into almost every nook and cranny on the sound. After seeing the largest waterfall of my life right outside the ferry terminal, we pulled up right next to some fur seals whose sunning techniques seemed inspired by a certain basset hound back in St. Louis I know well.
|soaked but still loving it|
Now one thing I had been obsessed with since arriving on the South Island was the water. Everywhere you turn there are crystal clear streams gargling "drink out of me!" or teal blue rivers screaming "swim in me!" Little did I know, I was about to get to do both. I was commenting aloud that I wanted to "just jump into the water" when right on cue the captain pulled up to a tiny cascade called Fairy Falls and announced that anyone who wanted a drink was going to get their chance. The crew then came out to the deck and handed out plastic cups and a few of us stayed on the deck as the nose of the boat bobbed under the falls. You might be able to guess what happened next. Yep, I got my second shower of the day, but this time a fully-clothed, frigid, teeth-chattering cleansing. I emerged from my soak with a nearly fully glass of water and a sense of accomplishment as the others had long scrambled inside for dry land at sea. Thankfully it was a sunny day as I was able to take to deck and do my best fur seal impression the rest of the cruise and dry off.
Cruising Milford Sound was really one of the highlights of my time here in New Zealand, and I really would love to write more, but I think this is one of those situations where the pictures should be the ones doing the typing.
I received a complimentary cruise courtesy of Jucy, but that in no way affects the opinions or words published above. I promise, I mean look at the pictures for crying out loud.
Scott Hartbeck Monday, April 02, 2012