But fjord was not in the English dictionary yet!

We decided to take a boat into the sounds as our one and only touristy experience on this trip.

It is a two hour drive in from Te Anau to Milford Sound.

Mirror Lakes.

A Kea found us in a car park. The kea is a very clever and very naughty bird – we adore them. Though if you are not careful they will steal the rubber out of your windscreen wipers and any shiny metal attached to the side of your car. Or your car keys! There are endangered but very adaptable and as NZ continues with its mission to rid the islands of rats we hope they will build their numbers again.

This one is in the wrong place but like I say they are adaptable and with the tourists I bet this guy is being illegally fed heaps!

After an hours walk from the parking area and out of sight on the right is the terminal.

Here is Sinbad our guide boat.

The Sounds were all carved out by glaciers that ground their way through here 20,000 years ago they had all melted by around 2,000 years ago I think and then the sea back filled into the resulting U shaped valleys. Very deep. In the Sounds it rains 200 out of 364 days on average. We got a dry fine day which was incredible luck.

Conservation is very close to the human condition in New Zealand so all this bush is native and original. And you may remove nothing. And leave behind nothing.

It is protected fiercely and shared generously.

Then two hours later – back on dry land.

I am going to send this to you now! Battery v. Low. Hold that thought.

I hope this vid of the tunnel goes through – The Sounds are incredibly isolated- which is good- and difficult to access – which is good too. Keeps out the riff raff! But also a very old fashioned place to visit.

This tunnel was punched through in 1954.

I am almost out of battery on my phone so more on that tunnel here and I will push Publish then go in search of my charger pack. I hope to come back to this post later today with more notes.

We shift the bus today – I am not sure where to but the pack up will take a while. I paid 5 dollars to have a shower in the Te Anau Visitors Centre yesterday, which was very welcome and hope to find a laundromat today! Bus life is not a clean experience.

Love love



          • Only a few hundred left right? but they tell me they had great hatches this year and are looking to populate new spaces. The kakapo, and the kea too, are pretty solitary birds. Need space. Great that they are slowly coming back

            • Yes a really good breeding season this year. Heaps of food for the Kakapo. Some fell foul of a fungal infection and experts worked really hard to save a good number and to try and work out the whys and wherefores. Kakapo need to live away from introduced mammal predators such as stoats, weasels, ferrets, cats, dogs as they live on the ground so present an easy target. 😦 Kea are tricky as they love people and get fed the wrong food but also as tricksters and so inquisitive they like to strip lead off roofs, the rubber trim off cars etc and eat many wrong things. Humans are not their best friends really so it is good that they have the vastness of Fiordland to inhabit. In years gone by farmers would shoot Kea as they believed the birds attacked their sheep in the high country. That put a huge dent in their numbers and they are now protected. It is unlikely that the birds killed sheep but perhaps wounded one and then infection set in etc. Nature is a delicate balance. 🙂 It very heartening to see our native flora and fauna regenerating and so much is done by volunteers.

      • It’s a cheeky Kea. Aotearoa’s very intelligent and very mischievous parrot. Like the Kakapo it is one of our endangered birds. The colours under the Kea’s wings are gorgeous.

  1. Those mountains are incredible! They seem to leap out of the ground into the sky from nowhere!

  2. what a gorgeous vacation you are having! That is a lovely bird and I am glad to read that no trace is left of visitors but their foot steps….and that nothing is taken but photos!

  3. WOW! Such spectacular scenes! Now this is something for a lifetime to remember. I’m so happy for you–

    • And the boat was very clean and comfy! I am not much fond of boats but this was ok for a couple of hours! The sheer magnitude of the mountainsides running with waterfalls was amazing

  4. Wonderful! Beautiful! Loved Mirror Lake most because it was so serene. Homer Tunnel’s history is reminiscent of the building of Shasta Dam at about the same period in history. Difficulty was met with the depression and the war, but there were many workers from Oklahoma and the dustbowl area driving to California to seek employment at the dam. QUESTION: are the fjords fresh water in NZ?

    • The fjords are connected to the sea, but because of the high rainfall, the top 10m (or something like that – I stand to be corrected) is a fresh water layer. I don’t know if C got to go to the underwater observatory, which is fascinating. The water running off the mountains has a high tannin content, like dark tea, and this blocks the light from getting through the water. As a result there are species of fish and coral there which a normally only found in the deepest depths of the ocean.

      • Yes! You sound just like our tour guide! And yes I saw the observatory and wished for another life studying the water and her creatures.
        The fur seals were especially gorgeous . And I was glad to read of their recovery.

  5. I can almost smell the incredibly clean air from those photos, and thank you for the gorgeous waterfall, my favourite natural phenomenon.

  6. Oh Celi!!! So beautiful there!! Love all of these photos with the mountains and fresh water!! Better get booking our trip to New Zealand!!! Keep on having a great trip!!

  7. We need more of that fierce protection in the states. There is too much greed hindering it.

  8. Visited in 2015 , early NZ Spring. Wondefull and awe inspering. A crush at the boat terminal,with mainly Japanese Tourists. Once on board our boat and sailing up the Sound, other boats appeared to disappear. Wouldlike to visit again, but would need assistance, and the longflight is a bit of putting from UK. One ortywo stop-ovrs woulld help.

    • Yes!
      The new terminal is huge and we took the last boat of the day which meant things were much quieter. Thankfully. Travel from the UK takes so long. I used to do that one from London every year .

  9. How absolutely gorgeous! And my heart is so happy thinking of what you said about how it is protected fiercely and shared generously. If only we were more like that in the US!!!! Thank you for sharing. Hope the rest of the trip is fabulous!

  10. Rain 200 days a year sounds like my paradise! Stunning pictures, I’m so glad we’re on vacation. 🙂

  11. Wow!!! Absolutely stunning scenery!! The water does look like a mirror- beautiful! You are having one awesome trip!

  12. Fabulous, fabulous! Love the gregarious Kea (who is obviously a pro at mooching from tourists; ). The fiords just take your breath away, don’t they?
    You said they hadn’t had any rain for 12 days straight, and I wondered if that might be why the one marsh photo looked as though the water level was very low…? Glad you Holiday is going so well!

  13. Your Photos are spectacular. They bring back memories for me of when I walked the Milford track in rain the whole time. But it was beautiful. Lucky you to get a fine Day.

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