The Glorious Milford Sound
We had heard so many amazing things about Milford Sound during our first few months in New Zealand. It practically seemed like anytime we spoke to anyone about visiting somewhere in NZ they brought it up. We had some time off during the holidays and decided to take advantage and make our way down to the South Island yet again. This time we would make the treck all the way down to Milford Sound. The furthest we had driven down was Wanaka on our last voyage.
Driving down to Milford Sound During from Auckland during Christmas was very special. During this time of the year, a lot of New Zealand closes down for a few weeks. This enables people to be able to spend time with their loved ones and enjoy a break from work. Pretty much most places will have at least two weeks off and I think it sets an example for what the rest of the world should follow. Ryan and I headed out of Auckland on a Friday and probably made it to Milford Sound within a week. The travel distance between the two is 1827 km / 1135 miles and in total it's about 26 hours of driving.
A fun fact about NZ roads is that they are very winding. Destinations are much further than they appear on a map and to be honest there aren't many roads that have been built. Expect to be taking very scenic routes on any of your trips.
The trip down to Milford was amazing. When we finally got to the park the weather was absolutely gorgeous. This is something that is extremely rare in this part of the country. The average annual rainfall in Milford Sound is 6,813mm, and it rains there on average 182 days a year. Over the course of 24 hours, 250mm of rain can fall in the area. Since the weather was so great we decided to take full advantage on go on a kayaking tour of Milford Sound. Although this was an expensive option we felt that is was the absolute best way to actually see the Fiords (Yes they are actually Fiords and not Sounds!).
Kayaking through the Fiords was an absolutely incredible experience. We got to get taken out by a boat for a majority of the distance out to sea and then get dropped off to kayak back. We had an incredible guide and with Roscos Milford Sound Kayaks. We also got to go sailing through the Fiords using our kayaks and a handheld sail.
I definitely recommend this as an action-packed way to see Milford Sound! The next day it rained all day so we took it easy in our camper van. We tried hiking part of the Key Summit track but the views were completely blocked from cloud coverage. The next day it poured until about midday but we ended up having a bright and sunny day. We did the treck to Lake Marian.
Lake Marian was like something out of the Lord of the Rings. The treck is about 2-3 hours and pretty moderate but so worth the journey!
The following day we decided to tackle an expert level track, Gertrude Saddle. I was a little nervous about doing this treck because of its expertise level and the number of warnings for the tramp but it ended up being a beautiful day and I did it in tennis shoes. I think if the weather would have been bad it could have made the experience much worse. I highly recommend doing this track if you want to see some of the most spectacular views of Milford Sound! Just make sure to have proper alpine gear and good weather conditions