I have booked a ferry at Milford Sounds for 12:15 (yes, through bookme.co.nz), so I leave Te Anau at 9:00 am. The drive is fine, but it’s especially the last part which is spectacular with mountains and hundreds (if not thousands) of small waterfalls down the steep edges. Several places the wet rocks reflect the sunshine. The weather in Milford Sounds is good – sunny with clouds, but it’s generally possible to see the mountains and peaks. At the ferry terminal there are rain drops in the air from a nearby waterfall. The harbor looks rather new with room for 12 ferries – this is for sure a big tourist attraction, also considering the large spaces for busses.
I have booked a Nature Cruise for 12:15 where two guides are explaining about the area, animals etc. – it’s however a bit difficult to hear, and to begin with I’m more interested in taking photos of this beautiful place with this fjord (or Sounds) and waterfalls in all directions. We get close to a couple of waterfalls, and also see seals – but more interesting, I see penguins in nature for the first time.
At the Stirling waterfall the ferry gets under it with the bow. People can borrow rain coats, but aren’t we here to get a bit wet from a waterfall? …the ‘a bit wet’ ends up being surprisingly wet – but nice to shower and taste a waterfall! Back at shore I walk the two nearby treks but they are not very interesting or with any special views.
I stop at the Chasm waterfall and a few viewpoints during my drive back South. I park at a large DOC camp site just south of the Lake Gunn. I park the camper next to the river, which has a nice gurgling sound. Before sunset I walk the nearby trek, but it’s mainly inside a forest and only two places with small views to the lake.