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Glaciers and the Fjordlands

First stop, Franz Josef Glacier. Without a helicopter and a guide, you're not allowed to walk on the glacier, and there is a fence showing how close you can safely get.

It's retreated quite a bit in the past couple years!

We also stopped by Lake Matheson which is famous for it's gorgeous view of Mount Cook and typically has great reflections. We got there a mid morning and the wind had already picked up, so the optimal reflection was lost, but it was gorgeous walk around the lake with several neat view points.


7 hours away in the southwest part of the South Island is the small town of Te Anau, which is another hour away from Milford Sound. Milford Sound is actually a fjord and not a sound, and we had booked an early morning boat ride. Everyone said the best way to see Milford Sound was from the water, and they were right!


But first....we met a fjordland crested penguin in the road. Never graceful on land, he was just crossing the road and heading back to the water.


There are 5-10 different companies that you can take a boat cruise with, and looking at them online they all sound very similar. They all take the same basic route and have around the same amount of time on the water. We finally opted for the smallest boat, reading a review that mentioned the small boats get closer to the shoreline and waterfalls. There are 2 main falls here, Lady Bowen and Stirling Falls, but after rain (most days) 100s of small falls appear everywhere. “One of the few places that's gorgeous in the rain or shine” we heard a lot. And our boat had free tea!


Milford Sound is surrounded by 4,000ft cliffs. It's an amazing place that I had a hard time capturing on camera...how do you portray that scale?


We definitely picked the right boat and had an awesome time! The weather was sunny and we cruised along slow enough that the wind wasn't cold. We even went right up under Stirling Falls, and got soaked.


Lady Bowen Falls, 530 feet tall, provides electricity and water (just like a spring, it's untreated and tastes so clean and fresh!) for Milford Sound businesses and residents (less than 150 people).


We went out to the Tasman Sea briefly, and passed some sunbathing seals!


There were also lots of walks in the area and wildflowers.

Posted by smr1188 16:03 Archived in New Zealand

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