I woke up early and was picked up by a luxury coach bus with big comfy seats and a glass roof for prime views. After picking up everyone else from his or her accommodation, we were on our way.
The drive was beautiful. I was on an “eco tours” bus so the driver spent much of the ride pointing out interesting facts about the environment we were driving in, including the plans and animals. It was all very interesting and I learned a lot of information about the ecology of this area.
To be completely honest, half the time he was talking, I was too distracted by the boulders to listen. My head was glued to the window, admiring the constant flow of rocks we were passing… I spent most of the ride daydreaming about the endless climbing potential of the place. My obsession with climbing has returned in full force. I can’t stop thinking about it and relating everything to it. It’s one of the most important parts of my life.
We stopped in many places along the way to take short walks or simply snap a photo. Here are some of the stops we made:
the tops of the mountains in the background were used in lord of the rings.
There were a few times that I had to remind myself that what I was seeing was real and not just a desktop background. The scenery was simply amazing.
We saw many cool natural attractions including Bowen Falls, Sinbad Gully, Mitre Peak (one of the tallest mountains in the world to rise directly from the sea floor), Copper Point, Fairy Falls, Bridal Veil Falls. Dale Point, Seal Rock, Stirling Falls, Mt. Kimberly, Harrison’s Cove, Mt. Pembroke, and Cascade Range.
Stirling Falls was one that especially stood out. It was absolutely gorgeous. It is the 2nd largest permanent waterfall in the fiord and is fed by the glaciers in the mountains behind. A rainbow formed from the mist as we got closer, and it almost turned into a DOUBLE rainbow! Full on!
It was a BEAUTIFUL day and I am so glad that I got to experience Milford Sound on this trip… it’s definitely a MUST-SEE!!!!!
Everyone on the tour was given a sack lunch. I had briefly mentioned on the phone that I was a vegan, but I didn't really explain my diet or anything and I didn't expect them to cater to me... however, when i told them my name, they handed me a special lunch with the words "Hamilton, vegan" written on it. Salad, apple, and a banana. Awesome. Kiwi people are so nice! I also ate 10 kiwis on the cruise. =D
Even though most tour buses / coaches are super touristy and overpriced, I believe a Milford Sound trip is an exception. It was decently priced for a FULL day trip (I left at 8am and returned at 9:30pm) Firstly, the tour was extremely informative and I wouldn’t have learned that information without being on a tour bus. Also, the driver knew of all the most picture-perfect spots to stop and admire the view on the way. On top of that, making a return trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound is quite a long way (a FULL DAY) so it was convenient to just hop on a bus and have someone do it for me. The other options would be driving there yourself or hitching. Driving yourself would be okay, but unless you do your research, you probably won’t learn as much as you would on a tour. Also, to actually see Milford Sound, you must take a cruise – which is easily booked together with a coach... but could be booked individually as well. As far as hitchhiking goes, it would take at least a couple days to hitch there and back from Queenstown, as it is seriously a full day trip. I would have done this if I had a few more days, but since I was short on time, the coach was the best option – and I’m glad I did it.