Travel books tried to describe Milford Sound. The photographs attempted to capture its beauty. But neither words nor pictures could ever depict the awesome story of Milford Sound in a few short pages. And this is only a gist of Milford Sound, the eighth wonder of the world! After all, it is difficult to describe the beauty of God’s creation.
Milford Sound and Fiordland come together, like hand and glove. The birth of this beautiful story starts from Fiordland.
Journey By Any Moving Vehicle
The first part of the journey commences on a road that follows Lake Te Anau for 30 km (90 miles) before entering dense forests. The trip will then pass through the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain where it is difficult to believe what you see. As the journey progresses through the mountain, you will pass more forests, river flats and small lakes until the road drops toward the forested upper Hollyford Valley at Marian Camp. At this point, the road divides into two directions. One leads to the no-exit Hollyford with the Murray Gunn Camp while the other leads to Milford Sound. Following the road towards Milford Sound is a drop of 690 meters (2,264 feet) between sheer mountain faces that will eventually emerge into the Cleddau Valley with its awe-inspiring chasm.
Finally, the road reaches the tip of Milford Sound where fine accommodations await. At the Milford Sound Hotel, you will find a small photographic display that depicts the history of the region. Behind the hotel lies Donald Sutherland (1843 - 1919), “the hermit of Milford”, who managed the first accommodation at Milford. The Sutherland Falls was named after him. On a regular basis, boats from the southernmost end of Milford Sound would carry visitors 16 km (10 miles) on excursions to the open sea. These excursions are very popular and should be booked in advance.
Milford Sound is dominated by several awesome landmarks. One of the most unforgettable masterpieces would be Mitre Peak, a 1,692 meter (5,551 feet) pinnacle of rock. The other would be Bowen Falls, which is 162 meters (531 feet) high.
A Humble Journey By Foot
Milford Sound is also accessible by foot. Again, the journey begins from Te Anau. This time, stop at Glad House at the head of the lake. From there, walkers can use the Milford Track, which passes Fiordland National Park, to reach Milford Sound. The Track takes up to three days, and will lead the walker through some of the most majestic scenery nature can ever create. Meals and accommodations are provided at huts along the track.
Apart from the Milford Track, Fiordland National Park also boasts of other world-renowned treks, including the Routeburn Track and the spectacular Kepler Track, which winds along mountaintops and valleys across the lake from Te Anau. Red deer shooting is encouraged at specified areas only. However, the flightless takahe, the park’s native bird life, is strictly protected. The bird was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1948. From the park headquarters in Te Anau, there are many fun bush walks available, even for the less energetic. It crisscrosses the Manapouri area. Of course, there are also launch trips and scenic flights for those who want to view the place from a different perspective.
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