~ Milford Sound ~
"Are you going to Milford Sound? You have to go to Milford Sound" - said by every New Zealander, everywhere.
I have been looking forward to Milford Sound since I heard about it a few years ago. It was at the top of the ‘must do in New Zealand’ list, and despite not knowing much about it, I was excited to head there on Friday.
And? it did not disappoint.
But firstly, what & where is Milford Sound? Milford sound is located on New Zealand’s South Island about five hours south of Queenstown. It’s a narrow canal-type stretch (see map below) of water that runs 15km (9 miles) inland from the Tasmanian sea (sea between Australia & NZ), and it’s where the sea meets New Zealand glacier water. And, of course, it’s surrounded by beautiful mountains (as seen above), which makes it very popular with the tourists.
Map images: Bing.com/images
Milford Sound is also named incorrectly. A “sound” refers to a body of water with steep-sided rock which were formed by rivers (rivers create “V”s when the flow), whereas “fiords” - which Milford Sound is - means the steep-sided rocks were carved by glaciers and create a “U” (you can tell Milford Sounds is actually a “fiord” because of my third photo above - the half moon cut into the rock).
When Captain Cook was sailing around New Zealand and mapping it out, he actually missed Milford Sound because of its narrow entrance (as seen behind me in photo 7), but eventually, in 1812, another European explorer stumbled into it trying to hide his ship from a storm, and named it after his home town, Milford Haven.
Today Milford Sound is a World Heritage site, which means no mining is allowed, but the mountains are filled with many minerals such as copper, iron ore and gold. You can see all the beautiful colours in the fourth photo above.
Something else I thought was very cool, was the fact that five glaciers, from five different eras, carved out Milford Sound. One could actually see step-like phases (two are still under water) carved into the rocks surrounding you. Milford Sound is also very deep (120m), and it’s very blue because as the glacier water runs down the rock, it collects minerals and then the natural water sits on top of the salt water and sparkles in the sun.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in New Zealand, I would highly recommend the tour Natalie and I took; Southern Discoveries (look for the red boats!). They were fairly empty, yet the boat captain was easy to hear and filled with lots of fun facts (like the ones above). The drive to Milford Sound is also absolutely stunning, so make sure you leave enough time to stop the car and take photos.
It’s a beautiful world we live in, isn’t it?