Day 8-Milford Sound

Date: 08.11.2003
Start Location:

Te Anau Top 10 Mountain View Campground
45° 24.890' 167° 42.548'

End Location: Te Anau Top 10 Mountain View Campground
45° 24.890' 167° 42.548'
Distance Driven 232km (2,086km)

Time: 09:14
Location: Te Anau Top 10 Mountain View Campground
45° 24.890' 167° 42.548'
Name: Leave for Milford Sound
The drive for Milford Sound takes about 2½ hours by car. It's a windy road through mountains, along rivers and creeks, and by many spectacular waterfalls. Since we needed to be at the town of Milford Sound by noon, we kept the number of stops to a minimum on the way there. Further, the weather was not particularly cooperative for picture taking, so that seemed like a prudent measure.
Time: 10:40
Location: Along the road to Milford Sound
44° 48.077' 168° 01.286'
Name: Kea pets

Although native birds, we had not seen many Kea until today. At this small turn-off, it appears that the Kea and the humans have struck a bargain and they come to the busses looking for food. This means that they are very patient with photographers and it allowed us to get off quite a few shots.

The scenery in the area was quite pleasing too.

Time: 10:57
Location: After Homer Tunnel
44° 45.780' 167° 58.199'
Name: Homer Tunnel Overlook

The land path to Milford Sound includes a trip through Homer Tunnel, a 1,207m tunnel hand-hewn out of the rock between 1935 and 1953 as part of a public works project. The tunnel is barely wide enough for two vehicles (one in each direction), contains no lights or grated drainage, and is extremely dark for nearly its entire length. However, it provides the one reliable land route to the sound. Beyond the tunnel, there are breathtaking views down the valley, including waterfalls and ice bridges. Because of recent rains, many of these areas were under heavy flow and signs of recently-cleared avalanches were prominent.

Time: 12:30
Location: Milford Sound
Name: Milford Sound Cruise

As one of the planned activities for the Fiordland part of our trip, we are taking cruises on both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Today's cruise lasted about 2½ hours mostly in the sound, with a small portion of the trip spent in the Sea of Tasman, just off of St. Anne Point. Recent rainfall (including some while we were on the trip) has made the walls weep from every rockface, causing an astounding number of gorgeous wateralls. However, the sea was relatively calm with swells only to a meter or so, making the trip into the Tasman very enjoyable.


Time: 16:20

Waterfalls and rivers:
S:44° 49.093' E:168° 04.243'
S:44° 49.055' E:168° 04.777'
S:44° 48.812' E:168° 05.514'

Name: Road back to Te Anau

Once we finished with the cruise at Milford Sound, we went back to the van, ate our picnic lunches (which were intended to be eaten aboard) and then headed out back to Te Anau. Since we were not pressed for time, we had a leisurely drive back, stopping in a number of places along the way, including the points above.

Most of what we saw were waterfalls and other water features, intermingled with some fine scenery.