From Queenstown I was able to take an easy day trip to Milford Sound and Fjordland. The bus picks up right in the middle of town around 6:30AM. Not going to lie, I stayed out way too late the night before and almost missed the bus despite it’s convenience, but if you follow along in this blog, you’ll find that I’m no stranger to almost missing my transportation! Haha
The bus trekked along the winding roads of Lake Wakatipu and through the mountains until arriving in the majestic fjords and Milford Sound. Sit in front if you get travel sick, it’s a beautiful but wicked ride! It was during this trek that I actually learned the Maori legend about the heart beat of the lake described in my last post.
Before we arrived at the fjords, we passed by both Mirror Lake and The Chasm. Mirror Lake is usually so still that it will show a direct mirror image of the surrounding mountains and sky reflected on it’s surface. It was rainy and overcast on the day that I went so the reflection wasn’t clear, but the lake and the surroundings were still beautiful!
So a quick vocabulary lesson:
It’s quite confusing actually that Milford Sound, along with many other sounds, compose the fjordlands of the South Island of New Zealand. Why?!? It’s actually a misnomer. A sound is an isolated body of water created by the rising of the sea or the sinking of land, whereas a fjord, is an isolated body of water created by a receding glacier carving a track through the land which later becomes filled by the sea. Milford Sound et al were named and then later discovered to have been created by a receding glacier. Rather than changing the name of each fjord, causing confusion to the now popular “sounds,” they decided to just name to collective area “fjordland” to actively reflect the history of the region.
Milford Sound is such a beautiful place! It’s covered in lush green vegetation as a result of the near constant rainfall. Milford Sound receives 6,412mm (252in or 21ft) of rain annually making it the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand and one of the wettest places in the world. Stupidly, I did not research this prior to my visit, however, thanks to my sometimes lackadaisical attitude about being on time, I never unpacked the new rain jacket I had purchased the day before and shoved into my backpack! God is good for blessing me with these happy accidents! As it turns out, the best time to visit the fjords are when it’s raining, because there are only a handful of permanent waterfalls, but when it rains, there are an endless waterfalls tumbling down the cliffs, outlining each crevice and even the Alpine Fault line. Loads of people on my tour missed out on the beauty of this moment by being unwilling to dance in the rain. If you happen to be lucky enough to go on a rainy day, embrace the magic and just accept that you will be soaked but it will be worth it!