Along the Away

travel, dream, create, inspire, appreciate

Archive for March, 2015

Goodbye Queenstown! Time to mosey on over to the south western corner of the South Island!

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Off we trundled on the coach, passing through some lush forest lined roads.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

We had the opportunity to take a wander through some forest trails right off the main road which is always good for healthy dose of nature.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

We then continued through ‘Fiordland’ – to me, ‘Fiordland’ sounds a bit like a territory you might find on a map in Game of Thrones, but in reality it is a land of beauty and picture postcard views. Like the Scandinavian ‘Fjord’ (steep valley), Fiordland is dominated by the Southern Alps and the crystal clear lakes that lie between them.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

We stopped to look at Mirror Lake where the still waters reflect the mountains and sky. This particular spot is rather famous and a sign sitting above the waterline rather cleverly makes it’s point.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland offers similar views and effects all around the area so we stopped regularly along our journey to get out our cameras.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

A highlight of our trip was driving through the mountain – the Homer Tunnel is built into the Darran Mountain Range and is 1.2km long. When it opened in 1954 it was only a single lane gravel road. It has since been widened to two lanes but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was rather glad to not have met another vehicle on our journey through it!

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

The tunnel is pretty much pitch black, but when we came out through the other end it was back into the sunshine, past waterfalls and forest, always with the moody mountain backdrop.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Winding our way around the snow capped mountains meant we eventually ran into some snow! We had time to pull over and have an impromptu snow ball fight!

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

But I’m a lover not a fighter, so I also busied myself creating a little baby snow-pal, complete with a hat.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Luckily the weather was not wet or wild so we were able to take time to go on the Milford Sound Nature Cruise. This was quite special, cruising around the Sound in between the sheer vertical mountain faces where multiple waterfalls cascaded off the sides.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

We saw a couple of fur seals sunbathing on the rocks, and then a pod of bottlenose dolphins came out to play with the boat!

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

What is it about dolphins that turn everyone into crazed paparazzi clicking away? I took a million photos, but for everyone’s sake here are just a couple.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

It was cool how close the boat took us to the wall of the mountain rock face. The captain edged us right up to the wall where a waterfall smashed down on the front deck. Some brave souls held on tight and took a hit – but I watched from just inside the cabin :-)

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

The rocky walls are beautiful, layers of colour and minerals – the geology is very interesting, on the boat they share information about it which is cool.

Fiordland - alongtheaway.com

The Milford Sound Cruise was really good – I would definitely recommend it. I did wonder a bit about the fabulous reviews Milford Sound gets from travellers, it was beautiful but not as breath-taking as I was expecting (it pains me to say, but gotta be honest). I think it must depend a lot on the weather, the sky and the water. A Google image search shows some truly gorgeous photos of the Sound, so if you have options, opt for the clearest day you can.