A weekend well spent in the Fiordlands National Park. New Zealands most southernly national park and one of the largest too is well know because of the famous Milford Sounds that lies only a stones through away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. Day trips are easy from Queenstown and you can either do it in a day or you can stay a night closer to town so that you don’t have such a crazy busy day. Here is all about my time seeing the eighth wonder of the world – also one of the worlds most visited tourist sites and the reasons why everyone should go if they are in New Zealand.
Entering into the weekend we drove south from Queenstown to see what all the fuss was about in Fiorlands national park and we weren’t to regret it. The weekend was spent going hiking and site seeing. The early starts were all worth it, plus no matter the weather the Sounds are stunning.
We started off with a brunch in Queenstown before we hit the road. Winding around lake Wakatipu we were heading from one mountain range to another. As we drove you knew that you were heading into true wilderness as the bars of signal started to drop the further we drove. By the time we reached the outskirts of the national park phones were just useless pieces of equipment that could take photos and nothing else.
I find it really refreshing that there wasn’t any phone service out there, it hardly ever happens these days where you find a spot where there is no way of communication via modern technology.
Making our way deeper into the national park we found that there were not many people around. We had headed into the park mid afternoon time and so all the day trip busses were already on the way out or about to be. I think this fact made it all the more special as we didn’t have to fight through the crowds to see any of the stop off points we headed to.
Length: 10 minuet board walk
The first stop was mirror lakes. They came as advertised. Due to the shelters area that the lakes are they appear glass-like. Allowing for the reflection of the mountains on the horizon to be reflected in the water. When standing in the presence of nature at its best, you really do realise how spectacular the planet that we live on truly is.
This makes me excited and sad at the same time. Excited because we are able to go and see places that are of true natural beauty. Sad because it is not clear how much longer these places will appear as they do due the impact of climate change, pollution and the lack of action. I just hope that we are able to put a cap on the damage that we have already made on our world.
Length: 3 hours round trip
Terrain: easy walk, uneven track in wooded area
I would suggest that if you are heading into Fiorland National park that you make time to do it, even if you aren’t a keen hiker. The walk is mainly uphill and along a track that is not always clear. The trail was much more of a journey through the woods than you would expect. If you have ever been on substantial trail in New Zealand you might question the need for the bright orange markers that show the direction of the track. After this hike I now completely understand why they make them such a bright colour. The trail was littered with roots that were made into steps as well as rocks that had small creaks that ran over them. It was a rustic trail and one that we found was almost left to ourselves.
We got to the trail head in the mid-afternoon and headed up to the lake early evening. When we made it to the lake we found that we had the whole lake to ourselves. Not even the number of sand fly’s could ruin the tranquility and beauty that we had reached up in the heart of the National Park. It was amazing spot to find. A truly magical evening hike, that much I know for certain.
The main event was left until the last day of our time in Fiorlands National Park, seeing as the saying is always best till last. Milford sound is one of the most visited tourists attractions in the world. Can you even imagine. That is a hell of a lot of people going to a place that is very remote and rains 95% of the time. Not that the rain makes the visit any less spectacular. In fact it just adds to the number of waterfalls that are there to be seen. Within three hours of the rain stopping most of them have dried up as there is no collection point up on the top of the Fiords where the water can settle. There is only two permanent waterfalls in the area, so you would be missing out if it wasn’t raining. I think that is a first.
We used a website called bookme.co.nz to get our cruise around the Sounds. This allowed us to do it for a lower cost as we are still backpackers after all. We decided to go through the Mitre Peak, which is the smallest of the boats that goes. I am so pleased that we did as it allowed us to see much more without a million people getting the the way of our view. We all know how irritating it can be when you are trying to enjoy the scenery and you are being shoved around. It also allowed us to be covered as well as having the option of getting rained on to see the waterfalls a bit closer without a glass window between us. Over all a wet morning but a stunning morning. I cannot recommend this any more, you have to just see for yourselves.
If you are looking to book yourself onto a Milford cruise I shall leave the link below for Mitre peak cruise website. ↡↡↡