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marie’s Travel Diary

Friday, 29 May 2009

Location: Milford Sound, New Zealand

Map29/05/09 - Saturday - Milford Sounds

Today Re and I along with Alex, Louise, Jemma and Aled went to Milford Sound.

(FACTOIDES!) The Sound along with every other Sound in the world was formed from a glacier that carved it's way through the mountains it sat on. Milford Sound can be found in the South West corner of the South Island in the Fiordland National Park, a park that is so big that all 13 other National Parks in NZ can fit inside it with plenty of room to spare, or to put it another way, it's the size of Wales!

Our day started fairly early at 8am, it would take us 4 hours to get to the Sound. Along the way our driver stopped at several places mainly for photo oppotunities, like te 1200m tunnel that cuts through the mountain range of the Fiordland National Park, thus enabling us to get to the Sound. The best stop that we came to, I thought, was the "Chasm". It was around 10 to 15 minutes to the Sound and we needed to follow a footpath for 5 minutes until we came to a bridge. The bridge took us over the "Chasm" which was emmense! It was a raging torrent of water that had carved it's way through the rock over a number of years to leave the smooth Chasm that it is today. I thought it was quite amazing to see what water could do.

We got to the Sound about 12:30pm and boarded the boat straight away. Our trip would take us on a circuit of the Sound, travelling up to the mouth of the Sound that opens out to the Tasman Sea, then back to where we started via the UnderWater Observatory. However before we saw any of this we all indulged to the best of our abilities in our inclusive all you can eat gourmet lunch. To say we were all pleasantly full would be an understatement!

Highlights of the trip had to be the 2 Waterfalls and the UnderWater Observatory. The First WaterFall we came to was the "Stirling Falls". Named after an early explorer of the area, the falls are the 2nd highest of the Sound at 155m. The boat took us really close up to it and along with getting a little wet we got some pretty good photos. After the Falls we stopped at the "Milford Deep UnderWater Observatory", which is a fairly recent addition to the Sound. Due to the heavy rainfall the area experiences (although it didn't rain when we were there) you can't really see very far into the water, so the Observatory was built to allow people to view some of the Marine Life of the Sound. The Observatory was about 10m below the surface and although the Marine life wasn't all that varied it was plentiful and what we did see was pretty amazing. After the Observatory we came to the "Bowen Falls".

The "Bowen Falls" is the largest permanent Waterfall in the Sound at 160m high and is infact the 5th largest in the world. We didn't get as close to this one but it was really impressive.

After that we returned to dry land and our bus. We set off for Queenstown and arrived back at about 8pm.