Friday, 8 February 2013

Stunning Milford Sound


We had been looking forward to seeing one of New Zealand’s highlights, Milford Sound.

The drive to get there from our overnight stop was very dramatic, with low clouds shielding the mountains we were driving through. At one point the clouds were very dark and created a strange light over the landscape....


Eventually the clouds dispersed and those remaining hung low over the land and roads. Driving into a cloud is a very strange feeling....




The scenery became more stunning the nearer we got to Milford Sound. The road passes through some great parts of the Southern Alps, with twists and turns that make the drive very enjoyable. It would be even better on a motorcycle. The road passes through Homer Tunnel, which has a 1:10 slope in a near-darkness. Great fun!


The fjord is 15km long inland from the Tasmin Sea and has sheers cliffs that rise 3,900 ft / 1,200 metres above the water. We travelled on the 40m long boat, Milford Mariner on a two-and-a-half hour sailing along the sound and back again.

Milford Sound is a World Heritage site, and it is easy to see why....








It was a good day to see such a great place, as this was our 15th wedding anniversary....


On the return journey inland, we saw seals....



The base of the 155 metre Stirling Falls. Trying to take a picture and keep the camera dry at the same time was impossible....


On the way back....











Milford Sound has an average annual rainfall of 268 inches. That is a staggering 22 feet or 6.8 metres, making it one of the wettest places in the world. We were blessed with a wonderful day, with blue skies and sunshine.

As we arrived back at the boat dock, we passed the second of the ever-running waterfalls....




A couple of pictures from the journey back. Who couldn’t like driving on roads like these?




15 comments:

bob skoot said...

Gary:

Happy Anniversary to you and Jackie. Lovely photos. Wished we were there.

You lucked out with the weather, but then again . . . you are a lucky guy, 15 years in heavenly bliss

Looks like a GoPro on a few of those shots

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

Bob - Thanks. No not a GoPro for the wide shots. They were taken with my fisheye lens in my Nikon.

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the
Mrs. !!! What an amazing place to spend it. You really have set the bar high for future anniversaries.
Cloud driving really is weird. I did that once on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Spooky.

RichardM said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful place to spend it as well. That fjord is beautiful. The 40m long boat was a sloop, ketch, ? (I like sailboats!)

Keep posting the pictures as I don't know if I'll ever get there...

Charlie6 said...

Happy Anniversary!

Brilliant photography Gary, Brilliant! Biggest sailboat I ever sailed on was a 34' Catalina, it was very nice.

dom

Roger Fleming said...

Come on mate, dont go telling everyone about our secrets down under.....

Gary France said...

Patti – Thank you for your anniversary wishes. I am not sure I can equal Milford Sound for future anniversaries.

Richard – It was big and had engines as well as sails. That exhausts my limit of knowledge of sailboats.

Charlie6 – Thanks! I have recently discovered some cheats that make my photos look better. Oh, being in a fantastic place really helps!

Gary France said...

Roger – Sorry. This blog post will self-destruct in ten seconds.....

Geoff James said...

Congratulations Gary and Jackie - have a drink on me and charge it to Roger - I'll sort it out with him when we get back :-).

I was interested in your remarks about the Homer Tunnel. To use a very English phrase, I was 'bricking it' going through on the bike but all was well!

SonjaM said...

Happy Anniversary, and what a nice scenery to celebrate. Milford Sound is legendary.

Trobairitz said...

Beautiful pictures Gary - and happy belated Anniversary to you an Mrs. France.

I can't believe how much rain the sound receives per year. I thought 40 inches in Oregon was bad. Glad you managed a clear sunny day on the water.

Canajun said...

A great place to spend your anniversary. Happy 15th! Milford Sound is certainly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen and, like you, we were blessed with a rare day of sunshine when we were there.

WooleyBugger said...

Happy Anniversary you two.
Hey, that third picture just looks wild and the fourth picture reminds me of a mouse hole in a wall.
Thanks for the package as well.

Rex J. Covington said...

Fantastic Photos! Happy Anniversary to you and Jackie!

Gary France said...

Geoff – We will have two! The tunnel was scary enough in a car – I think I would have had the same feelings if I had done it on a bike.

Sonja – Thank you. Milford was as good as people say.

Trobairitz – Thanks. It gets an amazing amount of rain, but is the second wettest place in NZ. Somewhere gets more!

Canajun – You are right, it was a great place to celebrate an anniversary. We were both so lucky to have sunshine when there.

Wooley – I laughed when I read your mouse hole comment – that is exactly what it looks like!

Rex – Thanks!