One of the famous activities in Southland, cruise in Milford Sound. Almost 100% who come to New Zealand, they will come and take part in cruising. My journey start from Te Anau, we overnight in Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park. This accommodation was one of the cheapest we could get during that period. We booked from Booking.com few months before the trip. Which is advisable to book early since accommodation in Te Anau is limited.
Alternatively, you can start your journey from Queenstown. For those who are not willing to drive a car, there’s a bus tour departing from Queenstown. The bus tour from Queenstown offers a pick up from most hotels or main bus stops in town. This is a very convenient way to start your trip and makes the early morning rise that much easier. Pick up is usually anywhere between 6.45am and 7.30am, depending on where you’re located and what trip you’ve picked.
So, for my case, I prefer to drive there. Early morning at 9:30am, we start driving and make few stop along the way such as Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lake and roadsides.
Our first stop on our way to Milford Sound is Eglinton Valley, and it’s a very impressive sight to see! The Eglinton Valley was once filled with giant glaciers that carved their way through the thick rock to create what you see today. This valley is the first resemblance of the region’s ancient glacier past.
The next stop is the very famous Mirror Lakes. Mirror Lakes are small lakes that, on a calm day, give off perfect reflections of the Earl Mountains that lay behind them. It’s too crowded for me, which is not recommended too. The lakes are viewed via a boardwalk that winds its way along the edge of the lakes. This boardwalk is 400 meters long and is a perfect spot to stretch your legs on your journey to Milford Sound.
At 12 noon, we finally arrived at Milford Sound parking area. Before coming, we booked the cruise package with Go! Orange website. The cruise price was $50 per person (afternoon snack included). But when we arrived at the counter, they told us Go Orange cruise not sailing today. They put us in Real Journey Cruise. Well, it’s kinda they upgraded us to better cruise.
Cruise duration was about 2 hours. The experience was awesome with outstanding weather throughout the cruise. Onboard we had the opportunity to spot seals, penguins but no dolphins. Sigh…i must be missed it. The captain of the ship provide us live and interesting commentary and point out some of Milford Sound’s most unique characteristics and facts. Along with spotting wildlife, the Cruise also explores many waterfalls with a unique stop to taste pure glacier water! we even got wet under the waterfall!. Variety of hot coffee are also provided free by the cruise.
Once the cruise ship docked at jetty after 2 hours amazing journey, we continue our road trip. We had a quick stop at Lake Gunn. A small lake between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound, it lies close to the New Zealand State Highway 94. Then few stop which we can’t remember the name of the places.
We’re had our dinner at Te Anau town around 7pm. This will be end of our Milford Sound journey in South New Zealand before continue drive for 2 hours to Queenstown. A day trip to Milford sound is sure to be an experience we won’t soon forget.