Queenstown Milford Sound Tour (Rāapa, Āperira 4th 2012)

It was a Milford Sound Day Tour, a bus-ship-bus Tour.  The Tour that we had waited for so long. Considering how famous Milford Sound is. We took the tour offered by Great Sight tour. It was three days away from our coming-home, and for my friend Adrian, that was the last day in Queenstown – and in New Zealand. So at every sense, we expect so much from this trip.

The tour was started at 7:30 am and ended at 8 pm, combining bus trip with cruise on the Milford. The bus strip stopped at beautiful places such Te Anau and Fiordland National Park, and some of famous lookout points of lakes, falls and forests in the southern region.

We were picked up by this big bus – and for the first time in our journey, it was  FULL already with passengers when we entered it. We got the seat in back and picked up 4 more passengers before actually going south – 5 hours drive from Queenstown.

The bus driver (as well as our bus tour guide) Dion is from Queenstown, and he had this amazing knowledge and way of storytelling that he’s so informative and made the journey interesting. He spelled out every detail and history he knows about the places we stopped.

The more southern you get the more you feel like you are a dwarf. Hills and rocks get immense and gallant. Trees are the same too. Many high and big trees along the way, even the sun finding it hard to penetrate the road and it’s surrounding.

Eglinton valley was the first stop we made…those curvy giant hills were an impeccable combination. We stop there for around 5 minutes before heading to mirror lake

The first mirror lake that awed me was the one in Lake Hawea – then i saw several but not as impressive as in Lake Hawea. But this mirror lake was just as incredible as in the Lake Hawea. It is created by Eglinton river that spreads as far as 30 km along the road to Milford Sound. The different is that the mirror effect in Hawea comes from a vast deep lake, as for the Eglinton comes from a river, so you’ve got a bigger sensation when you watch it from a lake, it’s majestic. The one in the Eglinton river has bushes accessories on each riverside. Same greatness, different effects when you see it. Be there and you’ll know what i mean 🙂

After that, we went to Monkey Creek. Not sure why is it named after monkey. Such a great view, there’s this crystal clear creek that flows right in front of ice-topped mountain, flanked by 2 other hills. Our driver even re-fill his bottle with water from the creek. How i wished i could do that in Indonesia!

After that, we passed through these amazingly gallant hills with ice on some of its spots flanked our main road. Thanks to the bus with clear window on the top, i could as well watch the top of the hills through it. Some ice blanketing the tops of it.

The journey continued to pass lots of high hills, until we came to Homer Tunnel, in Fiordland Region already. The tunnel is the main access to the Milford sound. But as Dion said, during winter, where the road will likely get slippery, the access to Milford sound will be re-routed –not passing Homer Tunnel, cause it may expose danger to vehicle. And indeed, i feel like a dwarf in Giant world. Amazing!

Milford Sound was only 20 minutes away, but we took a quick stop to the Chasm, 15 walking path inside a forest where you can find the Cleddau river flows through the chasm.

From the chasm we went back to the road towards Milford Sound (Piopiotahi in Maori). Many other busses from many providers were there as well, and several boats ready for the cruise.

So there it goes, we cruised the Milford Sound. It was beautiful scenery, indeed. But somehow i didn’t really amazed nor excited as our first 2 boat trip, even though the scenery offered better in the Milford Sound. Imagine this: Those giants rocks that flanked the main road along the way towards Milford sound; just filled the road with water – and use the magic wand to transform your bus into ship cruise. It’s simply beautiful. And  although it’s quite unfair to compare, but i couldn’t stop comparing it with Halong Bay-Vietnam, where there are a lots jade-a-like solitary rocks scattered on the sea, and the ship cruise twists its direction among those rocks.

3 things that Milford sound offer were

1.  The majestic sensation of giant rocks array

2. Splashes of majestic waterfall

My excitement pumped when we approaching the waterfall. The boat lead closely to the waterfall till you got your body splashed lightly. What seemingly looked like a regular dropping water from afar, became a flooding of a massive amount of water from the giant rock (of course). Simply amazing! 

3. Sea Lion Encounter

Never thought I would encounter sea lion, there on the rocks rolling like they were having some sun bathing.

After having around 2 hours boat cruise, we finally headed back to the bus and back to Queenstown. It was a direct bus ride, we didn’t make any stoppages, and arrived at Queenstown around 8 pm.

all in all, exceed expectation 🙂

The Best

Best Experience Sea Lion Encounter in Milford Sound Cruise

Best Dwarf Experience Homer Tunnel

Highlights and Tips

          Bus Pickup and Drop-off Points

For independent traveller, it is important for you to know every detail of your itinerary. We did have a long discussion about pickup and drop off. We stayed at Blacksheep Backpackers, and the booking confirmation forms stated:

Black Sheep Bakcpackers (Pickup/drop-off Copthorne ZQN Lakefront)

We were a bit confused whether we were picked up at Blacksheep or Copthorne.  So we did make a phone call to Great Sights office and clarifies that they kinda make 1 pickup-dropoff points on some area – to collect passenger around that particular area. So those staying at Blacksheep shall gather at Copthorne, because they can’t pick everyone on their accommodation – for effectiveness.

These are some other pictures we took

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and here’s our itinerary

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