Milford Sound

Maori legend credits the creation of the fiords to Tu te Rakiwhanoa – a god-like ancestor who used a digging stick to carve the fjords. His finest creation was Milford . It is the most visited and is the only fjord with a road directly to it – half a million tourists per year visit Milford mainly in January and February (including us!) We arrived in a mist which soon dissapated to leave great views and crytal clear skies.

Just one more visitor....

It is the youngest of the fjords about 16 km long with fantastic mountains – Mitre peak and the snow covered glacier of mount Pembroke - appearing to rise from great depths directly out of the sea and huge waterfalls - Bowen and Stirling - torrenting practically vertically down.

Pembroke Glacier and Stirling Falls

Anchoring in deep water besides these giants is really quite awe-inspiring. In places trees and shrubs cling precariously to bare rock whilst in others there is impenetrable forest.

One of the Great New Zealand walks is the Milford Track which has been tramped since the late 1880's. The track goes only in one direction from Lake Te Anau. The 4 day tramp ends at the Arthur river at Sandfly point – most aptly named - in Milford Sound.

Arthur river and Matt going for a hike along the Milford Track

We walked a small part of the last bit of the track from Milford Sound back along the Arthur river – stopping for a picnic only to be harassed by sand flies – they've obviously been around for a long time as one early tramper (D.A. Jolly 1895) described “Just as the soul rises to great ecstasies contemplating the beauties of nature you are suddenly brought back to sublunary things by the bite of a darned pernicious, pernickety, perverse, sanguinary, persistent, persecuting, poisonous, insidious, insignificant, voracious, devils imp of a sandfly” - yep that about sums it up!

In fact Maori legend goes on to say …..When Hine-nui-te-po the goddess of death inspected his work, she feared that humans would be so entranced by its beauty that they would forget their mortality. So she introduced Te Namu (the sandfly) to remind them not to linger. Early Maori used smokey fires and smeared mud and fat on their skin as a repellent. We just made a concoction of dettol and baby oil and put up with smelling like a hospital - although it was OK for Matt as he doesn't have a sense of smell! We had a huge bridal veil covering the cockpit which did keep out a few of the blighters but we also made ourselves hats with veils and just generally kept ourselves covered up!

But despite the sand flies, just being in Milford Sound on our own boat gave us a real buzz and we thouroughly enjoyed our stay there walking the various tracks and taking in the great views.

 

 

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