Milford Sound is often referred to as one of the most beautiful places on earth and always seems to make the list of “Places to See Before You Die” (I know, nice thought, right?). Rudyard Kipling even described it as the 8th Wonder of the World. But knowing no trip to New Zealand is complete without a visit, our next stop was Fiordland, in the southwest corner of the South Island.
Milford Sound can be explored by land or air. Our plan was to base ourselves in the small town of Te Anau, drive a couple hours through the Fiordland National Park to the harbor and then board a boat for a 2-hour tour of the sound.
I was looking forward to shooting some great photos — anticipating blue skies and soaring mountains reflected in still, crystal clear waters. That wasn’t meant to be. On the day of the tour, we awoke to a cloudy downpour. November to March are the area’s warmest months. Temperatures are moderated by a constant sea breeze.
So what is Milford Sound & Fiordland like on a wet day? The locals say it’s even better than on a clear day. When it rains, the landscape is more dramatic – the steep rock faces stream with thousands (yes, thousands!) of waterfalls, mist hangs around the tops of the mountains and rivers and streams rage. We arrived prepared with rain jackets. Gray skies resulted in less than stunning photos but trust me when I say this place was incredible! We discovered that the moisture is what makes Milford Sound so lush and beautiful, certainly living up to its billing as one of the Wonders of the World.