Most people do Milford Sound in a day and on a strict timescale, a 3 hour bus journey to Milford Sound, followed by a 1.5hour cruise and then the bus back. This approach didn't appeal to me and it seemed a lot of money for hardly any time at Milford Sound. I researched and found a hostel in Milford Sound and a longer cruise for a good price first thing in the morning, so decided to do a night there.
I jumped on a early morning bus to Milford Sound and the driver made a few stops on the way to see some of the amazing sights of the snowy mountains, lakes and streams, including the mirror lake which, like Peter's Pool in Franz Josef, reflects the beauty of the mountains in still water. In places the fog and mist was down low on the mountains adding to the drama of the area. The driver very kindly said he would drop me off at my hostel; Milford Sound Lodge. It was set amongst the trees, down alongside a river with the snowy mountains all around it. The lodge was really nice and the dorm was in a wooden cabin. Once checked in and seeing that the weather seemed to be looking more miserable, I went out for a walk down to the port where the cruise would be leaving the following morning to soak up the view in the grey and overcast day. It certainly gave it an eerie and dramatic look to the massive cliff faces in the body of water which lead to the sea. It was freezing but it was the most beautiful area I had seen in New Zealand, and that says something based on the beauty of the South Island. Back at the lodge I treated myself to a meal and chilled out in the lounge area with a bottle of wine I had smuggled in.
The next morning, I got a lift down to the port area and joined the cruise of Milford Sound for a couple of hours and wow!!!! This needs to be seen to be believed. It was so picturesque and the waterfalls were all flowing due to the previous days weather, but to add to the effect, the cruise started in a misty and overcast scene but turned to a sunny day which changed Milford Sound from a dramatic scene to one of prettiness. We even stumbled across a few seals basking in the sun. The water went for a calm cruise to a chopping bit when we reached the sea before turning back to the port. It was a great way to send a few hours and because I had stayed over and done the morning cruise, it was quieter as the hoards of tourists hadn't yet arrived. Thank God!
I headed back up to the lodge to get my bag and then back down to the port for breakfast and wait until I was allowed on the bus to take me back to Queenstown. But Milford Sound, a place that was more stunning than can be put into words and a place that needs to be seen. Perfect.