Milford Sound

Milford Sound Travel Blog

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Getting ready to take off at Queenstown -- Dad, Mom and our pilot, Teresa

We woke up early this morning and were eager to find out if the weather was good enough to fly over to Milford Sound.  We had to wait until 9 to hear from the airline charter service we had booked, so had plenty of time to catch some breakfast.  I went down to get a flat white while Mom and Dad got ready.  I had a run in with the hostess at the hotel cafe -- she was a brash, screechy woman with a voice like nails on a chalkboard.  She screened "gidday" at me as I entered that morning.  I bid her good morning and headed for a table as I had every other morning I stayed there.  She chased me down and demanded to know if I was alone.  I told her two others would be joining me, and she screeched "how many?" at me.

Glacier Lake in the Remarkables
  I told her two.  She screeched again and wanted to know when the others would arrive -- and I told her 5 to 15 minutes, and she did not like my answer.  I finally just ignored her and went to journal writing, and she reluctantly went away.  Weirdo.

Mom and Dad did finally join me, and the Screecher left them (and me) alone.  We had some pancakes and coffee and chatted a bit about the day ahead before we headed back to the room to await the charter service call.  At 9:10 we got the call that the weather was good, and our flight was a go.  I was so happy to hear that, as we are to leave Queenstown the next day.

A taxi-van picked us up at the hotel at 9:30 and we headed to the airport.

Our Cruise Boat anchored at Milford Sound
  We picked up some folks at other hotels along the way and were split into three groups.  A couple from Dublin, Ireland rode with us in a Cessna 6 plane, a small single engine, 6 person plane.  OUr pilot was a woman named Teresa.  She could not have been more than 27 years old.  She was tall and thin, very bubbly and happy, and an excellent pilot.  Dad sat up in the front with her as the co-pilot and Mom and I sat in the rear of the plane.  It was a smooth flight out over the Remarkables then the Southern Alps.  It's the area where the Lord of the Rings was filmed -- awsome, rugged, jagged peaks, jewel like alpine lakes, and quite a few glaciers.  We flew at about 6,500 feet in altitude most of the time,, but had to climb up to 8,100 feet at one point to negotiate a pass.
Mitre Peak and Milford Sound
  We flew by Mount Aspiring at one point, one of the peaks I had stopped at on a previous trip via helicopter.  The flight down to Milford Sound was only about 35 minutes long.

We were met by a bus at the Milford airport, and taken over to the boats at the Sound.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day -- not too hot, not too chilly (well, not too chilly for me, Mom was chilly -- even in her sweater).  We were outside for most of the cruise.  Miklefored sound is over 1000 feet deep and it rains a ton here.  They average 7 to 9 meters of rain a year here.  Mitre Peak is a famous landmark here.  Its a triangle shaped peak that gets its name from the Mitre hat that bishops wear.  We cruised right by the peak on our way out of the Sound.  There are many permanent waterfalls here -- and also lots of intermittent falls that come and go with the rain.

Getting Closer to the Waterfall that the captain nosed our ship into
  We were fortunate enough to see some seals sunning themselves on some rocks just as we neared the Tasman Sea.  I always like it when we see native wildlife.  As we got closer to the Tasman, the water got a lot rougher, and the captain turned us around and headed back to the big waterfall where the captain nosed the ship into it for pictures and tourist screams.  It was definitely a photo-opportunity thing.  The cruise took about two hours from start to finish.  We even had time for some lunch on board, although I don't recommend it too highly!

Our pilot, Teresa was waiting for us as we got back to the plane.  I got to ride in the co-pilots seat on the way back, so got lots of photos from the air.  As we got close to Queenstown, we flew right over the Shotover River where we had jet boated the day before.

Shotover River back near Queenstown
  I am amazed at how tourqoise the water in the river is -- almost as blue as Huka Falls on the North Island.  We landed on a grass landing strip back in Queenstown -- a first for Mom!  Mom and Dad gushed about how much they enjoyed this part of our trip!  I am so glad that we got such a beautiful day for this trip!

The taxi-van returned us to our hotel and our Milford Sound adventure was over.  So glad we took the plane though, as I understand it takes several hours to get to the Sound via bus as you have so many mountains to cross.

 

shirlan says:
Yes it is a brilliant trip. The bus trip is about an 10/11 hour one. There were 8 of us including pilot, in a 14 seater cessna caravan. It was great, we all had a window seat.
Posted on: Jun 05, 2008
pearcetoyou says:
My dream!!!
Posted on: Jun 05, 2008
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Getting ready to take off at Queen…
Getting ready to take off at Quee…
Glacier Lake in the Remarkables
Glacier Lake in the Remarkables
Our Cruise Boat anchored at Milfor…
Our Cruise Boat anchored at Milfo…
Mitre Peak and Milford Sound
Mitre Peak and Milford Sound
Getting Closer to the Waterfall th…
Getting Closer to the Waterfall t…
Shotover River back near Queenstown
Shotover River back near Queenstown
Mitre Peak
Mitre Peak
Southern Alps
Southern Alps
Waterfall at Milford Sound
Waterfall at Milford Sound
Mitre Peak at Milford Sound
Mitre Peak at Milford Sound
View from Plane over the Remarkabl…
View from Plane over the Remarkab…
View of the Remarkables
View of the Remarkables
Another view of the Remarkables
Another view of the Remarkables
Valley in the Remarkables
Valley in the Remarkables
The Southern Alps
The Southern Alps
Southern Alps
Southern Alps
Cloud cover over the Southern Alps
Cloud cover over the Southern Alps
Waterfall along Milford Sound
Waterfall along Milford Sound
Waterfall along Milford Sound
Waterfall along Milford Sound
Coming back into the Sound
Coming back into the Sound
Milford Sound
Milford Sound
Milford Sound
Milford Sound
Seals at Milford Sound
Seals at Milford Sound
Waterfall
Waterfall
On Deck on Milford Sound Cruise
On Deck on Milford Sound Cruise
Another waterfall
Another waterfall
Ship getting close to the waterfall
Ship getting close to the waterfall
Cruising into the Waterfall Spray
Cruising into the Waterfall Spray
Our Boat near the Waterfall
Our Boat near the Waterfall
Me out in the Spray
Me out in the Spray
Awesome Waterfall
Awesome Waterfall
Glacier Lake in the Southern Alps
Glacier Lake in the Southern Alps
The grass landing strip back in Qu…
The grass landing strip back in Q…
Milford Sound
photo by: genetravelling