Fjordland

 

The spectacular Fjordland National Park is a captivating place with eye catching scenery and an abundance of flora and fauna. The Milford Sound is the most famous, but the Doubtful (another Cpt Cook naming) Sound is just as beautiful.

Lake Te Anau and its three arms that penetrate into the mountainous forested shore, was gouged out by a huge glacier. It is 417 meters deep and 53 km long. Te Anau is a small village on the shores of the lake and we stayed there for a night.

Annoying weather and wildlife. As soon as we left Te Anau direction Milford Sound, we immediately hit the menaces of Fjordland. Rain and Sandflies. Apparently Milford gets over 6 meters of rain annually. (Locals told us that last year they got 13 meters and one of these meters felt in one day!). Sandflies are even worse than 10 mosquitoes in your bedroom on a hot summer night. They are nasty little insects (smaller than mosquitoes) with small but ever lasting bites (up to 3 months).. They come in clouds and there is no way of escaping them. Only when the sun sets they leave you alone.


On our way to Milford we had a few stops and walks in the forests. It is impossible to describe the beauty of the forests in this area. Everything is green. Not only the top of the tree but the whole tree. From trunk to every branch the tree has, everything is covered in moss. The birds come up to you and don't seem afraid. Worse even, the Kea bird (a kind of large green parrot) is famous for destroying tents and back backs. And the Weka takes everything that you drop or leave. Very confident birds indeed!

This is the Milford Sound. Unfortunately photos can't show you the enormity and beauty of this fjord. As it rains, waterfalls emerge from every where and tumble into the sea. When dry, the water is like a mirror and reflects the sheer peaks that rise all around. The middle photo is a picture taken from our kayak close to the side looking upward and backwards. The cliffs are so steep that if you turn the picture 180 degrees it looks like a normal landscape. No wonder that sometimes there are huge landslides or tree slides. When one tree gives away and falls down, it takes all the trees below it along in its fall.

Kayaking the Milford Sound is the best way of exploring. Of course you can do it in one of the comfy sight seeing boats but they don't go under the waterfalls as we did and you won't see all the seals on the cliffs and around your kayak as you paddle along.

Lake Gunn

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