18- December- We decided to do a separate blog just for Milford Sound because it was so outstanding.
The drive to Milford Sound took about 2 hrs but it would have taken far longer if we had stopped at every photo opportunity (we decided to try and beat all the tour buses and stop on the way back). The route is 119k from Te Anau and the sun was shining with a clear blue sky (it rains 200 days of the year here so we were very lucky). The only stop we made was at the Mirror Lakes (see photos). We drove through the valleys with crystal clear creeks surrounded by lovely wild flowers (lupins ) the scenery got more and more spectacular the closer we got to Milford. We had to stop at the Homer tunnel and saw a number of Kea's at the side of the road (Alpine parrot- can be destructive). It was one way traffic through the tunnel so we had to wait for the lights to change (15 min), the tunnel was very dark and difficult to see your way. On the other side our jaws dropped because it looked unreal, hundreds of waterfalls cascading thousands of feet down the mountains as if in slow motion. Still we didn't stop and headed on towards the cruise boat, which was small and only had a few people on it. The scenery was quite awesome, the mountains stretching up really high on either side. As well as all the lovely waterfalls, we saw fur seals and bottle nosed dolphins although we didn't get many pictures of them as you never know where they will pop up next. We did manage to capture them on video though. It really was a fabulous trip - you had to see it to believe it and the photos don't really do it justice. A lot of people refer to it as one of natures seven wonders of the world. The drive back was equally as lovely taking us about 6 hours. Stopped off at lots of lookouts to take pictures and relaxed by one of the lovely creeks just admiring the views.