Milford Track (Day 5)
So the Mitre Lodge is a real lodge. Like one that has power 24 hours a day. Oh, it's the little things in life. So I did stay up late to work on the blog a bit. And then crashed. We could actually sleep later today, but neither of us did. We Rhiddlehoover's are early risers. It's a curse.
Anyways, after another delicious breakfast, Sarah Beth and I walked (of course) back to the marina. There is a nice FLAT nature walk from the lodge to the marina and while my feet were still hating me, I had ditched my boots and just walking in my sandals. And it was fine. We got out early to one of the look out points for Mitre Peak which is the majestic Rocky Mountain you see on most travel posters. The sun was just coming out and there were some low hanging clouds on one side of the peak, but it was still so pretty. And amazingly enough, the sandflies weren't bad at all.
After we got to the marina, I had stealthily made my way to the front of the pier where our boat was departing and so I was the first person on the boat. Sarah Beth went immediately to grab a seat inside on the second deck while I went up to to grab the premier picture taking spot on the top deck. I was wearing shorts (of course) and my black pullover and I suspected that once the ship got underway I would be cold, but I wanted the good pics.
And the pics were good. The weather, while chilly, was partly cloudy with some low clouds hanging over the mountains. Sarah Beth mentioned that it looks like Skull Island and you sort of expect to see King Kong coming over one of the mountain ridges. And she was right. Ironically, Milford Sound really isn't a sound, it's a fiord. Fiords are created when glaciers move down a mountain and create a deep gouge that become filled with water when the ice caps receded. A sound is actually created by erosion from large rivers. So there's your fun fact for the day.
I'm listening to the commentary while I'm perched up top taking picture and I really do think the Milford Sound is one the most picturesque places on Earth. We sailed out along the southern edge of the fiord stopping at some waterfalls along the way. The very steep walls of the fiord extend deep into the water so the ship could get really close to the side. Like so close that the waterfalls were spraying onto the people on the very bow of the ship. I was suitably impressed by the Captain's ship handling skills. I know he does it several times a day, but getting within a foot of a sheer granite mountain wall and not hitting it with a several ton boat is pretty amazing.
We turn around at the mouth of the Milford Sound where it meets the Tasman Sea and you can actually feel some of the ocean swells. But then we start to return via the northern side of the fiord. It's just gorgeous and tons of waterfalls. We also pass a small colony of seals sitting one some rocks including two baby seals with their mother. Talk about adorable! Now other than the limited rain we had two nights before, there hasn't been a lot of rain, so the waterfalls, while awesome, are not quite as powerful as they usually hard. You can either have rain, awesome waterfalls, and crappy pics, or no rain, only outstanding waterfalls, and good pics. I chose the good pics. As the ship returned to the marina, we passed one more set of warterfalls and it was just amazing! A great way to end the tour of the fiord.
Sadly, after the boat tour, we boarded the tour bus for our 4 hour trip back to Queenstown. And then once we got into town, Sarah Beth and I had to hike up the very, very, very steep hill to our guesthouse. My feet were seriously complaining at that point, but we arrived just in time to get showered and changed before happy hour started! #Winning!