So the fiordlands of New Zealand are pretty tricky to get to, and we had to book a night in Te Anau in order to make a visit to Milford Sound work. Milford Sound itself is a four hour drive from Queenstown so it’s not really something you want to do in a day, especially seeing as most of the kayak tours leave at the crack of dawn.
Te Anau doesn’t have much going for it, so I wouldn’t worry about spending time there, just use it as a half way house to the Sound really. We stayed at the Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park which was pretty cheap and lovely and well kept. The grumpy owners spoiled the ambiance a little, but I guess it happens.
Our Rosco’s Kayak Tour, the ‘sunrises classic’ set off from Deep Water Basin at Milford Sound at 7.15, so we sleepily rolled into the car at 5 to head down the Te Anau Milford highway. The drive is one of the most scenic in the world, but the route down didn’t tell us so- the darkness was haunting and only gentle outlines of mountains were visible until the sun rose a little higher.
The weather wasn’t great (no change there) so we were a bit worried we would have another cancellation which wouldn’t be ideal seeing how much trouble we had gone to. Fortunately we were good to go. A very hippy dude called JD gave us a safety briefing before decking us out in funky thermals and rain coats before we hit the water.
To say it was choppy would be an understatement. We battled huge waves rolling over us, I constantly thought we were going to capsize and my bum was soaked then suddenly the waves just stopped, and for a precious 15 minutes we saw Milford Sound in all its glory. The pictures don’t do it justice- it’s one of the most gorgeous places on the planet no doubt.
Shortly after the cloud rolled back in (we never did see mitre peak) and we enjoyed the company of seals tumbling around us, playing in the water instead of the views of the sound. We were out on the water for a good few hours and in the cold it was pretty hard going. The rain only really set in during the last half an hour but we were soaked to the bone by the time we got back to the ‘transformation tent’. By the time we returned they had boosted up the biggest blow torch I had ever seen to warm us up, and people ripped off their wet things (with hardly any shame!) in the hope of warming up. It was an epic experience and I am so glad we did it.
We were shattered but we did stop off at some of the gorgeous points on the Te Anau- Milford highway.
There are loads of lovely walks and photo spots as well as tonnes of Keas who love to pose for a snap. There are fields filled with flowers, still reflection lakes and mountains galore.
It’s extraordinary. The rain meant that there were literally thousands of mini waterfalls rolling down the cliff faces- it was magical.
The four hour ride back to Queenstown was rough to say the least after a 4.30 wake up and hardcore kayaking, so it was totally necessary to grab a Fergburger to reward our efforts, right?