As the tour boat my wife and I were on turned around and re-entered into Milford Sound the ruggedness of the terrain became more evident as the clouds had mostly departed exposing most of the high rocky peaks that surround the sound:
Also as we re-entered the sound it was easy to understand why early explorers of New Zealand such as Captain James Cook were afraid to enter the sound. Cook was afraid to enter the sound because he feared crashing into the steep mountain sides along with being unable to receive a strong wind to pilot his ship back out of the sound.
Here is a Google Earth image that shows the topography of the terrain surrounding Milford Sound that so concerned Captain Cook:
However, someone that is unafraid to enter the sound are the large colony of sea lions that call Milford Sound home:
As we traveled further into the sound we saw even more sea lions sun bathing on a nearby rock:
The captain of the ship actually brought the ship extremely close to this rock and we spent about 20 minutes near the rock watching the sea lions. The sea lions mostly just sat there sound asleep like this guy here:
After checking out the sea lions the boat continued to travel further back into the sound and more and more of those steep hillsides that were obscured with clouds earlier in the day made for some quite spectacular scenery once their cloudy shrouds were removed:
We also got another look at the gigantic waterfall we saw earlier in the boat tour on the way out to sea:
The captain of the boat eventually brought the boat right to the base of the waterfall:
Since my wife and I were sitting outside on the very front of the boat we got a bit wet and I was unable to take any pictures due to the splashing water. This waterfall was quite large and Milford Sound is known to support waterfalls that can reach a thousand meters in length.
As the boat traveled further into the sound, the large peak that rises adjacent to the Milford Sound village came into view:
To our North we could see a dock where the captain of our boat said was the beginning of a trail that ascends up the adjacent valley:
Here is a closer look at the large mountain that was visible down this valley:
Judging by the surrounding terrain, the hiking in this area must just be absolutely tremendous and reason enough for me to come back to this area again some day. There is plenty of magnificent terrain features around Milford Sound, but without a doubt the most striking feature of the sound is the world famous Mitre Peak:
When many people think of New Zealand the first image that comes to mind is often the pyramid shaped 1,692 meter (5,300 ft) Mitre Peak overlooking Milford Sound. We could not see this peak earlier in the day due to the cloud cover on its summit, but now that it was free of its clouds, it was an extremely impressive sight to see:
The pyramid shape of Mitre Peak is actually what gives the peak its name because it looks like the mitre head wear that Christian bishops wear. Looking the opposite direction from Mitre Peak, the coast line of the Milford Sound village came into view, which meant our boat tour would soon come to an end:
As we neared the shore line the waterfall that flows near the Milford Sound village came into view:
This waterfall is not as large as the one we saw towards the middle of the sound from the boat but still large enough to impress;
The boat captain actually told us that this waterfall has a hydroelectric generator installed that provides for all the energy needs for the small Milford Sound village.
After cruising by the waterfall our boat then pulled into the pier to end the tour:
As we deboarded the boat my wife and I took in one last view of Milford Sound from the pier before heading back to our campervan back at the car park:
This iconic view is stunning no matter how many times we would look at it. Truly one of the world’s great geographic wonders that anyone visiting New Zealand should definitely see for themselves.
Next Posting: Video of Milford Sound Boat Tour
Prior Posting: Milford Sound, New Zealand – Part 1
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