Wednesday April 18
The ship arrived in Milford Sound at around 6 am and stopped long enough to let the Fiordland Park guide onboard as well as customs and quarantine agents. Our tour was let off the ship at around 9:00 and onto a small ferry to transfer us to shore. After a short five minute ride we met our busses for the trip inland. The Sound is beautiful with many tall snow-capped peaks, many of the cliff-sides are covered with thick green trees while others are completely barren and look like stone or slate.
Our bus stopped for a short walk to see “the chasm”, a deep gorge washed out by hundreds or thousands of years of rushing water. It was like walking through a rain forest, trees were covered with moss and New Zealand’s iconic ferns cover the ground.
Following that we climbed up the mountain side by Homers Saddle, a huge granite formation. The mountain was very high and we drove through several switchbacks to make our way to the top of the Southern Alps for the drive through Homer Tunnel.
Fortunately our driver made several stops on our way to Lake Te Anaua for lunch. We saw beautiful waterfalls, mirrored lakes, flat plains along the mountain floor and much more. Everything is very scenic and not commercialized, you see very few homes and businesses – no billboards, roadside stores, trash, or other signs of overuse and abuse of the countryside. This area of New Zealand is very pristine and unbothered.
After lunch we slowly made our way to Queenstown for the night. After checking in for the night we had about an hour and a half to explore the town. It is right on Lake Waimetu and has a lovely shopping area. For dinner we are heading out across the lake on the TSS Earnslaw, a coal powered steamship that was launched in 1912. The forty minute ride across the lake takes us to a beautiful farmhouse on the other side of the lake for supper and a sheep shearing demonstration. Next we make our way back toward the ship and will catch up with it in Dunedin.