February 23, 2023
Packed up our Queenstown Hotel and headed out to the Milford sound around 8:00 a.m. We had spotty rain most of the drive to Te Anau. We stopped in Te Anau to check into our hotel, pick up water and use the bathroom then continued to the Milford Sound. Looking forward to staying there tonight. Cute little town.
We stopped in a few pull-outs along the way to capture the increasingly pretty scenery. Lucky for us, the clouds lifted in the sun came out. We got to the Milford Sound just on time for our 1:30 p.m. boat cruise of the Milford Sound.
We boarded the Mitre Point vessel, opting to stand on the front left part of the bow. Minutes later we were off. The cruise was excellent from start to finish. We went all the way through the sound to the ocean and back.
In addition to the beautiful sound nestled in the mountains, we saw a fault line that ran across the sound and lots of sealife. We saw a bunch of birds dive for fish right in front of us, and lots of lazy seals basking in the sun on the rocks. Theresa gave the tour an 10/10 before we even saw the dolphins. When they announced we were lucky enough to encounter dolphins, Theresa was overjoyed. “OMG OMG!”
The seals mostly sunned themselves on the boulders, while the dolphins swam with the boat. In fact, the dolphins swam so close to the boat that some grazed the side and an effort to remove barnacles and other things from their skin. We saw about a dozen dolphins altogether.
Later on the tour, our boat operator took us right up to the base of a large waterfall. After making a statement about going into the waterfall, he warned us that we could go inside the boat if we didn’t want to get wet. Then he drove us right into the spray from the falls. I thought he may have been joking about going into the falls, but he was not. Great experience! Also glad I had my raincoat!
After our tour we started to head back to Te Anau, Theresa getting her first shot at driving on the left. It definitely takes some getting used to with the steering wheel and all of the controls flipped on the opposite side of the car. We all triggered the windshield wipers when we meant to use the turn signal.
We parked at our hotel and walked into town to eat at Ditto. Nice dinner seated outside at about 60°. We checked out some really interesting trees on our way back. Also passed some seaplanes docked in Lake Te Anau.
The hotel carpet feels quite foreign to my feet. It’s also a nice change to sleep in a comfortable bed with blankets to snuggle into. Every bed in Asia was either firm or extra firm. I’m finding many comforts I haven’t had in a while. Nice change.