Spectacular overnight cruise Milford Sound

| August 2, 2011

Aaron Jennings, our Australasia Product Manager, has just returned from a trip to New Zealand, where he was struck by the impressive natural beauty of Milford Sound.

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The drive from Queenstown to the wharf at Milford Sound was nothing short of spectacular. During the 4-hour journey I passed mountains, lakes, wildflowers and waterfalls. If only I didn't have to concentrate on the road and could just sit back and enjoy it!

Upon arrival at Milford Sound I parked my hire car up for the night and boarded the Milford Mariner for an overnight cruise. After dropping my bag off in my private cabin, I made my way up to the dining saloon for the safety briefing, before we departed the wharf and set sail.

During the hours before my cruise there had been a lot of rain in Milford Sound. The result of this was dozens of pretty waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliff walls all along the fiord, making a spectacular place even more special as the afternoon sun turned the spray into rainbows.

After a leisurely cruise along part of the fiord, learning about the geological and human history of the area, we backtracked to a small bay to anchor for the night. Here, we had the option to relax on-board, join a small tender for a cruise along the shoreline, or join a guided kayak trip along the shoreline. I opted for the kayak and slowly paddled along the coast, imagining what it would have been like for the Maori explorers who paddled the same waters hundreds of years ago in search of the jade gemstones found in the area.

After a hearty buffet dinner, I watched a presentation on the local wildlife by the onboard nature guides, then went out onto the deck to take advantage of the complete lack of light pollution and star-gazed for what seemed like hours before retiring to my cabin for the night.

The next morning after breakfast we cruised up along the fiord, passing seals playing and sleeping on rocks and spotting a small pod of dolphins. The many waterfalls had now disappeared, but the dramatic scenery remained breathtaking and as I drove towards my lodge for the night in Te Anau, I reflected that the overnight cruise had definitely earned a place in my top New Zealand experiences.

View Cox & Kings' Land of the Long White Cloud tour.

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