Exploring the Sound
5 August 2020
The Southland weather was looking perfect for the first weekend of Level 2, and it was my birthday so I decided to celebrate by re-visiting Milford Sound with some friends. The fiord is our most popular tourist attraction with over a million people visiting each year, so with the international borders closed it’s pretty unique to have it to ourselves.
Heading from Te Anau it’s an almost 2 hour drive on a stunning road that’s recently been repaired after various washouts over the last summer. On a normal day you’d be contending with about 30 tour buses on this narrow winding journey, but today the road is almost empty. We head past mountain ranges, clear blue lakes & native forest then through the spooky old 1km Homer Tunnel and make our way down Milford. It’s a clear blue sky day, only about 40 cars in the carpark and a handful of people about. We had prepacked a lunch, so sat and ate that in the sunshine looking out at Mitre Peak.
Earlier in the week I had investigated what cruise operators might have started up again and was happy to find Jucy Cruise were offering local’s 50 free passes for their first post-lockdown cruise. I entered and won 5 passes for myself and my friends. So at 1:30 we boarded their modern ferry, social distanced ourselves from the 45 other people on the boat at sailed out into the fiord.
It’s hard to describe how magical the next two hours were. Except for two other boats on the water we had Milford Sound to ourselves. The boat crew happy to finally be back in operation gave us a great trip right out to the open Tasman Sea. The even ran the boat right up under a couple of waterfalls for those outside to shower in the pure NZ glacial water! I’ve done a few cruises on Milford Sound over the years, this one was definitely the best.
People travel thousands of miles from all over the world to visit this pristine paradise, there really is no other place like it, and at the moment no better time for Kiwi’s to see it!