07.05.2013 - 08.05.2013 17 °C
We woke early to the sound of our alarm, breath visible in the campervan so I rolled over switched the little heater on full and pressed the snooze button, a little luxury I had planned by setting the alarm 10mins early.
We got up and shivered our way through breakfast before heading down to reception to meet the bus, which had just arrived. Our guide, a great down to earth kiwi guy in his 50s, quickly made us feel at ease and the bus was on its way. After picking up a few other travellers we started to head towards Milford sounds.
It was clear we had been very lucky. The rain from two days ago and then clouds from yesterday had cleared and it was stunning blue sky's and the sun was starting to cut through the frost melting it off various plants. The scenery was literally steaming before our eyes. We stopped at so many scenic views en route we were spoilt, beautiful picture postcard moments... Repeated. We visited a smaller mirrored lake which were so clear you could see the wood at the bottom near our feet, whilst the mountains shimmered in perfect reflection on the lake surface in the distance. These are apparently the smaller cousin to the actual mirrored lakes up north.
A good few hours driving later we had envied some incredible views, having spied glaciers, snow cover mountain peaks, rolling hills of green and grey, spotted local and foreign trees and shrubbery. We even stopped by a clear river and followed the guides lead in dunking our water bottles in the river to drink the fresh water. The clear ice cold water was unbelievable, so pure compared to our chlorine filled tap water. It was literally delicious, and a surprisingly liberating experience drinking straight from nature.
We arrived at the boat jetty and climbed onto our boat for the trip. Milford sounds already looked special, a great blue lake surrounded by giant snow tips mountains. With water falls flowing along the mountains and steep drops into the water. The mountains at their highest were over 1800m above us. It was so deep, apparently twice as deep as loch ness and the rock faces meant the depth increase dramatically, almost vertically. the height of the mountains totally warped our perceptions of size and the 160m water fall looked small. Along the mountains were New Zealand beech trees, which need very little roots and interlock together so they can grow along the mountain. Unfortunately they take a long time to grow as they only seed every 5 years. Which meant that at points were whole acres of the trees had lost their grip and literally slid of the mountain, left a scared jagged edge of rock to contrast the emerald green.
The two hour trip was over very quickly, we sailed out of Milford sounds, touch the ocean and then back again. All so quickly we started the return journey. Which was more stunning scenery and stops along the way to enjoy the view.
We arrived back at about 5pm and dropped our things off before walking into town. It was been such an amazingly beautiful day that we wanted to eat out at a restaurant we been recommended and taste the local venison. We entered the restaurant which was a converted house, enjoyed a delicious bread starter and then I tucked into soft pink venison with sweet roast kumara potatoes (gold sweet potatoes), whilst Sarah enjoyed pork belly with scallops and pineapple and chilli mash. It was stunning, a lovely round off to one of the many great days if our tour. With the end coming ever near, we reminisced and talked about the trip, as well as our excitement at seeing everyone again. It's funny, many people, strangers and close friends ask us how we feel about coming home. There is an expectation we should feel sad, but we don't feel like that. We are eternally grateful to have enjoyed such unbelievable experiences, we don't feel sad about our return. In fact we are excited, its another chapter, ok it might not be blog worthy, but it is exciting none the less.