Spending 8 hours on a bus may not sound like a great day, but driving and sailing through Milford Sound (technically a fjord, but who’s pining?) makes it worth while. The drive there was through some spectacular alpine passes, with flowing streams and flat lakes. The water is glacial run off and supposedly safe for drinking (although we’ve lived in the south too long to actually try any untreated water). The Sound itself is bounded by craggy, snow capped mountains and definitely lives up to the hype.
The tour itself was fairly uneventful. The glass roofed bus was a nice touch – you could really see the mountains towering over you the whole trip. We stopped at a few places along the way to stretch our legs and look at lakes, streams, mountains, and waterfalls.
Once at Milford Sound, we hopped on a boat and headed out to sea. The cruise through the sound was calm except for the small bit where we crossed out into the Tasman Sea. This area is known for its high winds, but it helped keep the temperature down so we didn’t mind. At the dock, it was nice and sunny with clouds skirting the mountain peaks. However, the further out to sea we got, the foggier it became.
We don’t know if we’d recommend doing the bus tour, but only because there seemed to be some great hiking along the way that we would have loved to do. We like to travel a bit more at our own pace; however, overall it was a great trip.
There’s really no way to do justice to the grandeur and majesty of the area. It could be in parts of the Rockies or parts of Austria. Rather than waste our time trying to explain it, go look at the pictures.