Waterproofs essential

Published: April 10th 2009
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Fact: Milford Sound has between seven and nine metres of rainfall a year and is considered one of the wettest places on the planet.

Bear this in mind if you go to Milford Sound and take waterproof clothing with you. We thought that we would be on the bus all day, then on to a boat so it wouldn't really metter. We were wrong.

To go from Queenstown to Milford Sound as a day trip does make it a very long twelve hour day but is well worth the effort. We were told that we wanted rain as this was the best way to see it so we were not dissapointed to wake up to the sound of rain banging on the tin roof of our hostel.

On the way to Milford sound we had a few stops, firstly at Te Anau where we could not see the spectacular views across the lake due to the bad weather but it seemed like a nice little town. The next stop was at a place called The Chasm which is essentially a waterfall but goes through what looks like a hole in the ground. As there was so much water coming down the river this was amazing to see. It was also where I realised that my shoes were not waterproof and I had soggy socks for the rest of the day. Oh well, no worries.

To get to Milford Sound you have to go through the Homer Tunnel which is only 1.5 km long but goes underneath a huge mountain with waterfalls everywhere and is only a single lane. I was very glad to get out the otherside and was amazed when we emerged into the valley of a thousand waterfalls which was pretty spectacular. It looked like being at the bottom of a big bowl with water trickling down the sides.

On down to the ferry terminal where we boarded our boat and headed out into Milford Sound itself. Not meaning to belittle Steves photographic skills but no pictures can really do this place justice and capture the atmosphere. The boat sails through incredible valleys where hundreds of waterfalls cascade almost on top of you and dolphins, seals and penguins swim in the water. (We didn't actually see any but were assured they were there). We did see a seal asleep on a rock but he wasn't doing much and just looked like a big rock.

We braved the weather and ventured out on to the top deck of the boat. Clinging on for dear life we managed to get a real feel of the atmosphere and obviously, a lot more wet.

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