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On Walkabout At: Milford Sound, New Zealand – Part 1

After completing the drive on Highway 94 from Te Anau to beautiful Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island, my wife and I walked over to the port facility to sign up for a boat tour of the sound.  At the port there was a variety of boat tours available and we decided to take one of the smaller boats out onto the beautiful waters of Milford Sound:

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Our boat only had about 20 people on it which is actually quite small compared to the larger boats that can fit well over 100 people on them.  My wife and I sat outside on the very front of the boat in order to get the full Milford Sound experience.  It was freezing cold outside, but my wife and I didn’t mind because of the incredible scenery we were surrounded by such as the gigantic glacier carved cliffs that descended into the water around us:

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Often time small waterfalls could be seen cascading down the sides of these massive rock walls from the snow melting on the peaks above:

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However, not all the waterfalls were small such as this large waterfall that flowed into the sound far in front of us:

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Milford Sound is part of the Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.  With the spectacular scenery we were surrounded by it is easy to understand why the sound is New Zealand’s top tourist destination and one of the most desirable travel destinations in the whole world.

Here is how this top travel destination looks like from above on Google Earth:

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From the port facility the sound is approximately 15 kilometers long and as our boat reached the further reaches of the sound the terrain began to be less extreme with rolling hills replacing the massive glacier carved peaks:

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On one of these rolling hills, the captain of our boat spotted a penguin:

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This penguin known as a Fiordland Crested Penguin that is native to only Southwest New Zealand:

The Fiordland crested penguin stands about 40cm and weighs around 4 kilograms. The head, throat and upperparts are black and underparts are white. The sulphur-yellow crest starts at the base of the base of the bill, extends over the eye and droops down the back of the head. Adults often have white stripes on the cheeks, juveiles have a shorter crest and pale cheeks.  [Penguin.net.nz]

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After checking out the penguin our boat continued towards the opening of the sound.  Once we reached the opening the rolling hills to the North that crashed into the adjacent ocean reminded me a bit of Australia’s Great Ocean Road:

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Looking South there was a small rock outcropping that the captain of the ship said that seals will occasionally relax on, though there wasn’t any now:

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After the boat turned around to go back into the sound, we began to have some great views of the gigantic peaks that surround Milford Sound that we had a hard time seeing before because of the earlier cloud cover:

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Most of the large peaks that surround this sound are over 1,000 meters tall with the tallest peak known as the Elephant reaching to 1,517 meters (4,977 ft).  As boat continued back through the sound the views of these dramatic peaks would only become better.

Next Posting: Milford Sound, New Zealand – Part 2

Prior Posting: Highway 94 to Milford Sound

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