Beware boys and girls! This post has lots and lots of beauty-full sights and dramatic experiences; you may end up wanting to go to subject location, very badly. Read at your own risk! And there is a special video at the end of the post as well. Having said that, let me share the happenings and spectacularly beautiful landscapes of one of the most lovely days we enjoyed during our trip to South New Zealand.
We stayed at Te Anau only to visit Milford Sound, as I stated earlier in this post. Our cruise ride was booked for 2:30 pm so we left Te Anau early around 10ish (to our understanding). The map was showing 1 hr 45 min drive to destination but what the map did not revealed were the breathtaking sights and lookouts we will be passing by in that brief drive and that leaving at 10 is horribly late (keep reading and you will find out why I used such a strong adjective this time).
Anyways, the drive to Milford Sound was super duper scenic. We bumped into Fiordland National Park which is a beech forest trail on the sandy Milford shore. Signboard leading to Lake Mistletoe was the first point we stopped at but we chose not to advance towards it since the return time to car park was 45 min (according to board) and we had to hike all the way to lake which definitely would be a bad idea with E in our hands all the time. So we dropped the plan and resumed our trip.
We then reached at Eglinton Valley and the moment we crossed the forest trees and stepped into the canyon, we were spellbound. It looked like a scene from a movie; mountains at the far end, river flowing, tall grass dancing to the tune of wind, pretty flowers, trees at the back and no one else around. It looked so serene and captivating that we did not want to leave but we had to reach somewhere else at a specified time, so we marched back towards the car and hit the road once again.
Next lookout was Mirror Lakes on the way. Check out the pictures and see for yourself the clean and clear water showcasing mirror image of the whole peaceful setting.
Our next stop was Pop’s View overlooking the stunning valley of Hollyford with clouds gliding through the mountain peaks. Here I would like to mention that the government has managed everything very well, you will find washrooms even in some of very remote locations as well.
Falls Creek‘s magical scenery blew our mind and we could not resist stopping by the waterfall flowing right beside the single lane road. At one side it was thundering down like a gigantic water spout and toppling into the ecstasy rocky pool at the other side of road. Oh my god, that was heavenly! I have never seen so much beauty in my entire life, seriously!
Came across Monkey Creek along the highway and we turned the car towards it. Here we spotted ‘Kea‘ – a native bird typically large species of parrots. They were quite comfortably posing for our cameras. Have a look at them down below.
Time was passing by like water was flowing through the rocks around us – very quicklyyy! We arrived at the Homer Tunnel situated at an altitude of 945m above sea level, surrounded by snowy peaks and so many little waterfalls flowing through them.
We started to feel the cold we were about to experience ahead, the wind was telling us that we are nearby our destination and we were quite on time BUT how can our day pass by without any drama?
HI looked at the fuel tank pointer and it said that we were running out of petrol. And let me tell you, there are no fuel stops or gas stations at Te Anau – Milford Sound Highway. As a matter of fact, there is one at the end of road but sometimes it is out of petrol and we were NOT in a position to take risks at that time. We got to know by fellow drivers that there is a ray of hope 20 kms in the opposite direction where we can find fuel so we turned the car without giving it a second thought and raced back towards the location. HI over-sped through the narrow lanes and finally, we approached the spot ‘Gunns Camp‘.
The next challenge was to open the fuel tank door, the clock was ticking and every passing second was taking us away from our cruise ride and everything else decided to give us tough time! Aaarrghh. At last the door opened, we filled up the tank, turned the car and accelerated towards Homer Tunnel once again. We travelled 40 kms extra that day and that too with lightening fast speed.
We did not stop at any other lookout after that nerve racking occurrence and pulled over directly at Milford Sound Cruise Terminal at exactly 2:30pm. And the drama continues, I literally ran towards the counter only to find out that the cruise has left already and that was the last one for the day by that company.
I sat there in dismay thinking what to do next because this was the only day we had there. Instantly we took the decision to get on the scenic cruise managed by another company, rushed towards their stand and bought the last tickets of the last cruise they sold for the day. Had we taken one more moment in deciding, we would have missed it. Phew, the drama ends! We performed well, right?… haha
We boarded the cruise and took a sigh of relief. It was a 2 hour scenic cruise along the picturesque and idyllic setting of Milford Sound. The moment we stepped onto deck we saw beauty that cannot be described in words, truly extraterrestrial! There was no reception of signals, far away from the hustle bustle of world, just us and blissful natural beauty all around. We took so many photographs and recorded videos but nothing is doing justice to what we saw with our eyes. Catch some of the glimpses below.
We came out smiling and content of the terminal after the tour, it was more like a feeling of winning a race against time. Our day was not wasted and we achieved what we wanted to. Yayyyy! 😀
Afterwards, we advanced our way towards Queenstown where our accommodation was booked for 2 nights. As soon as we hit Milford – Queenstown highway we realized that the day is not over yet and more pleasing panoramas are awaiting us down the road.
We kept on moving forward treating our eyes with the enthralling scenes every twist and turn was unfolding until we reached Devil’s Staircase Lookout. It is one bewitching location about 50 km away from Queenstown. I fell in love with the colors and serenity of that place immediately. We gasped in astonishment at the fact that it was about 9 o’ clock at night and the sun was shining bright, see for yourself.
Did you guys notice that we did not eat the whole day? There are no shops or eateries along Te Anau – Milford Haighway. We were hungry like crazyyy and the hunger levels elevated exponentially upon entering the amazing city of Queenstown. We headed straight to the Turkish Kebab shop at 31 Beach street which Noman bhai had told us without looking here and there and devoured their shawarmas as our lunch, snack and dinner – all in one. Later on, we grabbed some coffee and while roaming lazily on the streets of city concluded that we had Formula Rossa type of amazing day – Loved every bit of it!
Stay tuned to find out what we did in Queenstown the next day 😉
Until then… enjoy this enchanting summary video of our day.