Even though Milford Sound is only 30 kilometres from Queenstown as the bird flies, it is a really long drive down south to a town called Te Anau and then back north. The geography of New Zealand means the distances mean nothing and people talk in hours rather than miles.
We had a lovely Airbnb in Te Anau, more a shed than a room, run by a friendly Kiwi lady called Mel who used to live in London and hankered after travelling. The town is quiet and had an abundance of Italian Restaurants for some reason. It had a lake but it was a sleepy little town even at the peak of the holiday season.
The drive up to Milford Sound (which was misnamed, it is a fiord not a sound) was windy and wet and takes quite a time. Eventually we arrived at Milford Sound, with showers in the air and full-on rain threatening. We jumped on the ship that we had booked to cruise the fiord and headed straight to the front of the top deck. This position seemed to be the prime pick and I was surprised that most of our fellow passengers were content to see the fiord from comfy seats and through glass.
The sides of the fiord, and the waterfalls cascading from them, were spectacular, and the captain managed to edge the bow of the ship right up to the falling water to give the passengers that bothered to come out into the open a bit of a soaking.
Returning to Te Anau we stopped off at “The Chasm” to enjoy some more waterfalls and dense New Zealand forest.