There is a good reason why Fiordland National Park is a must see destination for anyone travelling to New Zealand. The mountains soar all around you, the lakes and forests are pristine and so beautiful, and the road trip itself to get to Milford Sound is an epic journey that will have you in awe with every crest in the road.
From Queenstown it is a long drive to get to Milford Sound. Since I didn’t have a car, and I had just hiked for 3 days, I decided to entrust in a company called the BBQ Bus Tour. They were fantastic, with a smaller minibus (there were only 14 of us this day, instead of the 50 or so you see on the bigger tourist buses). We made numerous stops along the way, our driver Nigel was packed full of information, and he had a wicked sense of humor to boot making the long drive alot more enjoyable. He also cooked us an awesome BBQ lunch before we continued on to the cruise boats.
Once we got to the cruise dock, there were people everywhere! Luckily for us as well our boat was pretty quiet, so there was no arguing or jostling for good positions. Everyone had space and could take the photos they wanted. The boat, once onto the fjord (even though its called a Sound Milford is technically a fjord)cruises all the way out to where it meets the Tasman Sea. It was freezing on the water – never think because it’s warm on the shore that the ocean will be the same! It was pretty windy, but the boat wasn’t too rocky which was good. The captain shows you various points of interest, including seeing seal colonies and driving the boat into the waterfalls that cascade off the steep rock. We were also fortunate to see a group of dolphins behind the boat.
The drive back to Queenstown was a long one, with a quick pitstop in Te Anau to toilet and grab a coffee. Overall the day is a long one (7am pick up to about 9pm drop off). But it was worth every minute! The scenery along the whole way is stunning, and the banter with Nigel from the BBQ Bus made the time fly by. I would definitely recommend doing a tour with this company if you don’t have a hire car or just don’t want to make the long drive yourself.