… are quietly awesome!
Maggie and I recently visited New Zealand. We flew to Auckland and spent two days exploring some of the scenic areas near to that city, before boarding the Cunard Line ship, the Queen Elizabeth, for a cruise down the east coast of New Zealand and then across the Tasman Sea back to our home city of Melbourne.
One of the main reasons we chose to explore parts of our near-neighbour by ship was the opportunity to visit a national park in the South Island known as Fiordland, a mountainous region scarred by ancient glaciers to produce fourteen spectacular fiords (fjords in Europe).
[Although ‘fiords’ is the correct term geologically, they are known geographically as ‘sounds’ in New Zealand, for reasons I don’t quite fathom (pun intended)!]
The most famous of these deep bodies of water is Milford Sound, one of five sounds that our ship was scheduled to visit. However, just because your itinerary includes Milford Sound doesn’t mean you will actually get to see much of it. Its annual rainfall is more than 6,400 mm (250 inches), spread across an average of 182 days, ie half the days in a year. Indeed, soon after we sailed out of Auckland’s harbour, about one metre of rain fell over Milford Sound in 24 hours, causing landslides, road closures and a ban on cruise ships going there for several days.
So, we count ourselves lucky for the near-perfect conditions that prevailed when we visited Fiordland, with a scattering of clouds to add atmosphere and contrast.
Of the sounds we visited, four were in pairs because glaciation had created islands bound on two sides by distinct fiords and, on the remaining side, by the Tasman Sea. If you click here you will find a map of Fiordland, showing the pairing of Dusky and Breaksea sounds in the south, Doubtful and Thompson sounds in the middle and Milford Sound at the northern edge.
Our experience, extending over six hours, was greatly enhanced through detailed information provided by a senior ranger who had boarded the ship at our previous port, finally leaving us at the inner end of Milford Sound, where there is a small settlement and an airstrip.
Alright, enough words from me. I hope you enjoy this selection of our photos.
Further posts about our New Zealand experiences will be published soon.
Cheers for now!