I've saved Milford Sound for my final post from Lie and Evan's visit.
This place is incredible. I had been once before, and it was a perfectly sunny day. When it was pouring rain as we were about to take off on our cruise around the Fiord, I was admittedly pretty bummed that Evan and Lie weren't going to get to have a good Milford Sound experience. BUT, as it turned out, and as the nature guide on the boat suggested, rain actually might enhance your experience here as opposed to hinder it. That is, if you are willing to get wet. And since a little water never hurt anybody*, we armed ourselves with our rain jackets and had a pretty incredible visit in one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.
(*You may be thinking about the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz, and how water did hurt her, but it seems that water only hurts evil witches, so we weren't worried. If anything, we could rest assured that no wicked witches would be on our tour given the inclement weather.)
This was all you could see as we started our tour. The clouds were thick and low, and it was quite cold out. Luckily, there was free coffee or hot chocolate or tea available inside the boat, which was all the rage amongst the tour group of 70 year olds on the boat.... and ok, you got me, we were pretty excited about it too! it was nice to be able to come back in and warm up with some hot chocolate real quick before braving the elements again.
Lie posing with one of the 1000+ waterfalls. And I mean it that there were literally over a thousand waterfalls. Someone counted them once. There are only a handful of permanent ones there, but as soon as it rains, the walls of the fiord turn into a series of nearly continuous waterfalls.
If you look closely, you can see that the waterfall extends up another level beyond the one in the foreground. The scale of this place is really hard to capture in a picture. A lot of the waterfall pictures show one level of at least 3 more of the same height.
Luckily, the clouds lifted some, and the rain came in waves, so we could get out and check out the highlights. I was really impressed with our entire group of tourists. I think at one point, every person was out on the deck, even with the rain. the guide on the boat was so excited. He said that never happens in bad weather, so he was very complimentary and nice to everyone because of that.
Group pic on the deck between the rainshowers.
The front of the boat as we approached the Tasman Sea.
He just couldn't resist the urge to have his 'King of the World' moment like in Titanic. The captain of the boat saw him and announced on the loudspeaker that he hoped we didn't encounter any icebergs.
This is how we looked most of the time. Lots of wind and rain! But it was really fun to play in the rain really. Ya can't do this every day, so you gotta just make the most of the situation, and Evan and Lie were really good about doing that. The came to NZ to have a good time, and nothing was going to stand in their way.
Our trusty ship.
I'm out of adjectives to describe how pretty things are here.
Somehow, trees grow on the steep walls here despite the crazy winds and rain.
Everywhere you look is like a postcard.
Seeking shelter before our up-close and personal waterfall encounter.
The boat will pull right up to this waterfall, and the spray just blows all over you. They challenge the guests to come out on the deck for it. The guide turned around and looked and Lie and said "I knew YOU'D be here!" We were pretty much up for every challenge.
There's a seal on that big rock.
It's just majestic, which I guess is why it is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the entire world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you: Milford Sound