NZ Week 4: Milford Sound – Catlins – Mount Cook

Whenever you look at pictures of New Zealand, usually Milford Sound springs up. This was an area we had earmarked as a must do. 

We hadn’t quite realised that the drive to get there would be so intense. It’s a 240 km round trip with no petrol stations in between. 

It was an early start to get to our 8am kayak  tour and it had rained heavily all night. Feeling groggy and with the rain still bucketing it down it was a slow drive in the dark. 

The road was so steep and twisty and there was no one else around. We questioned ourselves if we should be here. Whilst driving amongst mammoth mountains we realised that there was loads of snow around, but upon closer inspection and with the break of dawn we realised they were in fact hundreds of waterfalls! 

As if this wasn’t scary enough we arrived at Homer Tunnel a 1km long tunnel through a mountain only wide enough for one lane of traffic. As we sat at the traffic lights waiting a sign popped up giving us a countdown and told us to ensure our lights were on. 

Then we were off into what I can only describe as a steep downhill rollercoaster. There was water dripping from the ceiling and the tunnel looked like it was literally chipped out the rock. I was thankful when we got through to the other side. 

Unfortunately due to the high volume of rain, that had seen people being evacuated from the mountains, our kayak trip was cancelled after a quick paddle out. Some things just aren’t meant to be and we definitely felt like Milford Sound did not want anyone there that day.

The Catlins was a much more relaxing affair I am pleased to say. It was relieving to see the beach again and go for long strolls along the windswept coast collecting seashells.

Next up was the highest peak in New Zealand, Mount Cook. He was definitely playing games on the drive there, hiding behind the clouds, but we did catch a few glimpses of the giant. 

The next day we went out on the Hooker Valley walk, winding our way amongst the mountains and across swing bridges. Every so often you would hear a huge rumble of an avalanche in the distance – a stark reminder of nature. 

The view at Hooker Lake was amazing, there before us was the a huge Glacier and icebergs, yes icebergs floating in the lake. It was breathtaking and so mesmerising, at times it felt like a polar bear or penguin might appear alongside the bergs.

It was another great week in NZ with some highs and lows but it was memorable and a great experience.