Mighty Milford Sound
After an extensive cruise in Doubtful Sound this morning which is by far the deepest of the fiords and almost as extensive as Dusky Sound, we preceded up the coast towards Milford Sound, sighting NZ Fur Seal, dolphins, and pilot whales along the way, as well as being escorted by varying species of albatross.
Milford Sound is unforgettable and today it was picture perfect, the head of the Sound is dominated by Mitre Peak 5,551ft, a steep pinnacle of rock raising from the sea, on the other side water cascades down the Lady Bowen Falls 535ft one of only two permanent falls; but when it rains the steep sides turn literally into hundreds upon hundreds of water falls, making for the spectacular.
Maori legend tell of Tu-te-whanoa, the master craver who crafted the beautiful fiords of Fiordland with his adze, beginning in the south and working his way slowly up the coastline, fiord by fiord until he reached Milford, his piece de resistance.
We cannot leave this area without mentioning that this whole area is part of New Zealand’s largest nation park “Fiordland NP.” Encompassed within this vast wilderness area of over 3 million acres, of which 90% would not have seen man on foot, are 13 sea fiords, 5 major lakes, 300 smaller lakes, mountains raising to over 6000ft, plants, insects, and lizards still to be discovered. And maybe who know,s even a bird species such as the Takahe (Porphyrio mantelli ) a large flightless rail, rediscovered in the mountains close by the settlement of Te Anau in 1948 or the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) a large flightless parrot, rediscovered in a Milford Sound valley in the 1970s.
Fiordland National Park is part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area which is over 5 million acres, a huge extensive inter-connected wilderness area of mountains, fiords, lakes, and rivers, flanked on its western boundary by Tasman Sea.