Free Things to Do in Milford Sound
This is our last day in Milford Sound, let’s make it count! So we’ve shown you the cruisy side of Milford Sound, we’ve shown what it’s like to kayak under the mountains, but we’ve yet to show you what to do in Milford Sound when you are too cheap to get on the water or when your scuba dive is cancelled (true story). There is too much fresh water in the fiord making it too murky in the water for beginner scuba divers. So instead, let’s go for a walk!
A badass breakfast
Instead of rushing down to the Milford Sound foreshore first thing, we wait for the weather to clear up a little. In true Fiordland style, it is raining hard! The mountains surrounding Milford Sound Lodge are streaming with waterfalls and we even need to put our rain gear on to get from our campervan to the cafe, because, that’s right! We are treating ourselves to a breakfast buffet this morning.
It’s not exactly backpacker style, but we are running out of breakfast foods so we fill our plates up at the breakfast buffet with croissants, muffins, a spicy chorizo dish, a egg and ham hash, toast, cheese, bread… and a hot drink. It’s weird how food becomes an activity when it is raining too hard to do anything else.
Waiting game with the rain
With our bellies stuffed, we waddle back to the campervan, do some cleaning, do some work with our limited internet voucher, monitor the shoe-drying situation in the Milford Sound Lodge drying room… anything to kill time until the rain is forecast to stop this afternoon.
“Four seasons in a day”… How New Zealand weather is often described couldn’t be truer right now. We stop hearing the pounding rain on the campervan roof, look out of the window and… Blue skies! Oh blue skies, where have you been?!
There’s no time to waste, we drive down from the Milford Sound Lodge to the Milford foreshore to do a couple of super short hikes that capture the views of Milford Sound.
The Milford Sound Lookout Track
First up, it’s the Milford Sound Lookout Track which is just behind the cafe. The beginning of the track is marked by the gravesite of Milford Sound village’s first settlers, Donald and Elizabeth Sutherland. It’s either grim or fascinatingly historic; however you want to look at it.
From there, a track leads up through the rainforest. The forest floor is covered in these crazy-looking translucent leaves with black spiky ends. Then about 10 minutes later, we are taking the final steps to the viewing area – some decking with an information board on what you are currently laying your eyes upon right now.
The final steps to epic views of Milford SOund
A classic view
It’s a classic scene of Milford Sound, you can see the highest peak, Mitre Peak, as well as Sinbad Gully, Stirling Falls and Lion Rock. We feel pretty lucky to be seeing the fiord looking completely different to what we experienced in the pouring rain of our Milford Sound cruise and during the early morning of our kayaking tour. We get much more vivid colours in the sunlight, and contrast between the mountains and the blue sky. It’s a calm Milford Sound, rather than the ferocious one we’ve experienced out on the water.
Milford Sound Foreshore Loop
That’s one perspective of Milford Sound done, now we are making our way down to the next one: along the Milford Sound Foreshore Loop. This loop track takes us through a small forest filled with flax and wetland vegetation. A few bridges and information boards guide us to the foreshore where an opening in the trees invites us to walk on the water’s edge and capture some amazing views from the waterfront.
Thinking we’re photographers
To our right, we can see the spray of Bowen Falls still gushing from all the rainfall Fiordland has been getting. Then straight ahead is a beautiful display of mountains that have emerged straight out of the water. It’s crazy how New Zealand makes you feel like you are freakin’ Picasso but with our art being photography… The reality is the view is just that amazing. (Don’t worry, sir, you have no skills).
We take the time to sit out here, watching the cruises go in and out of the terminal, sending waves our way.
The only thing that gets us to move is when the tide starts rapidly coming in. We get back on the walking track and back around to the beginning.
The End of an era in Milford Sound
It’s back in the van and back to Milford Lodge and plan for an early morning drive to Lumsden tomorrow. We have about a three-hour drive to tackle including the Milford Road, before we do a Welcome Rock Trail in Lumsden.
We’ve seen Milford in all possible weather scenarios, but you bet we will be back one day to do some of the multi-day hikes in this spectacular piece of the earth. Until that day, keep up with our 365-day journey through New Zealand with our new blog post up tomorrow!
What our 360-degrees camera was made for...
What our 360-degrees camera was made for...
Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
What our 360-degrees camera was made for... Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
That’s awesome! Get your eyes on these articles:
- Guide to Milford Sound and the Milford Road
- Fiordland National Park – Guide for Backpackers
- 10 Token Tourist Photos You Have to Take in the South Island
See you tomorrow!