Friday 6 August 2021

Milford Sound

I’m so excited to share our second part of our Mamamoon! You can check out the first part of our trip here. I’ve been blessed with being able to travel and see a lot of New Zealand however, I have never been to the Milford Sounds before. This is one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural landmarks. Many people say that the Milford Sound has the most beautiful countryside they have ever seen and it is often dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World.

Ready for the ultimate girls road trip?! We packed the car and picked up all our favourite snacks and put on the best road trip playlist.

The drive up to Milford Sound through Fiordland National Park alone was so incredibly scenic. They say “the journey is more important than the destination”, and this is no truer than the drive from Queenstown to the Milford Sounds. It is often mentioned in round ups of the most beautiful drives in the world and now we know the reason! Every corner we took we were greeted with dramatic landscapes, from vast plains to lush rainforests, to snow-capped mountains that stretch into the clouds.

It truly doesn't matter what weather you encounter because even though blue skies and sunshine are always nice, Fiordland is the one place you may just wish for rain and our wishes came true as we soon found ourselves surrounded by thousand of waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliffs! So regardless of the weather, if the road is open, go! You’ll be impressed!

If you thought the drive was breathtaking, you should definitely try to see the Milford Sounds from the water. We had booked Southern Discoveries Discover More Cruise, but there are many others to choose from. This one seemed to tick all our boxes and included a picnic lunch and access to New Zealand's only floating underwater observatory that shows you what’s going on beneath the surface in the Milford Sounds.

During our boat cruise we started to see why the Milford Sound or Piopiotahi as its called Māori is commonly referred to as the “8th Wonder of the World.” It’s simply breathtaking. The sheer rock faces tower hundreds of meters high and waterfalls are everywhere you look thanks to the on and off rain we were having. Mountains protrude out of the Tasman Sea and the entire landscape looks like something you’d only ever see in a movie. A place full of history as I learnt Maori first discovered Piopiotahi around 1000 years ago and it became something of a Māori playground. With a seemingly endless supply of fish and abundant with pounamu (greenstone). It is thought that they made this journey by traveling the Milford Track, which is the same route visitors use today to soak in the area’s ethereal beauty.

One of my favourite parts of the boat trip was Stirling Falls, where the boat goes close enough to put the bow of the ship straight under the waterfall! We did get wet, but it was so worth it!

After our boat ride we made our way to the Milford Sound track to find the instafamous Milford Sounds swing to get a snap for the gram. Got to be done guys! It was clear why the swing was so popular as the view of Milford Sound from the swing is one of the best in the bay. Note: If you fancy finding the swing yourself, jump off to the right when you get to a wooden bridge/boardwalk and walk over the rocks for about 100 meters to get to the swing in the picture below.

We didn't have to travel far for our accommodation for the night and seized this rare opportunity to spend the night at Milford Sound Lodge which is the only accommodation that offers a rare opportunity to stay within the grounds of a World Heritage site. The lodge sits beneath the mighty peaks of the Darran Mountains and alongside the spectacular Cleddau River, completely immersed within Fiordland National Park.

We had booked one of their luxurious Riverside Chalets which has amazing views of the river, rainforest and mountains. This is the perfect sanctuary after a day exploring Fiordland and the Milford Sound. The Lodge also has an on-site restaurant with a delicious menu, serving up locally-sourced meals. With a collection of secluded and stylish chalets to suit every budget and a campervan site, this lodge is the ideal spot for those seeking memorable adventures.

You are pretty much guaranteed to see a Kea (a New Zealand alpine parrot) while staying here and it's more likely they will find you before you find them. However there were no Kea's in sight to be seen, then next minute this cheeky Weka came right up to our door to say hello!

We enjoyed breakfast which was delivered straight to our Riverside Chalet and one last chance to take in the breathtaking views before making our way back to Queenstown to make our flight home. But, there was one last stop to make before the end of our trip and I was super excited about this one. I mean it's best to finish the trip on a high right?!

I was a bit sad as we started our drive as I never got to see a Kea during our trip! Just before driving through the Milford Sound Tunnel. This little guy came by and said hello! I jumped out of the car rain and all and managed to get some snaps of him. These smart birds love to try and steal food off visitors and are often found trying to sneak their way into campervans. Bye Mr Kea thanks for for-filling my Milford Sounds wish list!

On our drive back we stopped at Falls Creek a roadside waterfall right beside a narrow single-lane bridge on the Milford Sound Highway. We happened to notice this waterfall when we first drove by it and made it a point to come back here for a closer examination on the way out of the Milford Sound area.

Just over an hour's drive away is the Fiordland Lodge, New Zealand's leading dining destination and boasts the only restaurant in the area with views out over Lake Te Anau and Fiordland National Park. Talk about luxury! Every corner of this Lodge was incredible and we were invited to wander and explore our surroundings, potter around the garden and take in the views.

Everyone meet Maisey! Fiordlands resident dog!

The lunch was an experience to remember incorporating produce from the land and ocean, we ordered all three Fiordland platters. No1 platter “from the Ocean’ No2 platter ‘from the Land’ and to finish off a dessert platter. The food was incredible and we enjoyed every bite along with the exceptional hospitality. We were made to feel at home. There are no 'dinner jacket requirements' here, no crowds, only relaxation (and doggie cuddles). Whilst we only had time for lunch we were treated like royalty and would not hesitate visiting again and enjoying the whole experience.

This whole trip was incredible but my absolute favourite part was spending one on one time with my Mummy. She’s my best friend and it felt so good to plan something special for just her and I to enjoy together. When you start to have children of your own life gets pretty busy. Making time with those you love is really important and provides that much needed time out to rejuvenate those batteries and enjoy one another’s company. We had slept and eaten like Queens this whole entire trip and created new memories that we will laugh about and cherish forever. This was definitely the crème de la crème of recommendations on what to do, eat, see and stay for the ultimate girls trip in New Zealand! Hope this blog post inspires you to plan a trip with your mumma or girlfriends soon!

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