Sunday, 6 January 2008

Paradise on earth

They say you should see your own country before you see anyone else’s. (Who are they? Never mind – it’s what they say that’s important.) I agree, but have tended to do a bit of both, ie little bits of travel around New Zealand and overseas. It is not until now, however, that I have made it to the Deep South. I’ve heard from everyone how beautiful the South Island is, and believed it, but now have finally seen with my own eyes.

I arrived in Te Anau last night to a perfect sunset on the lake. Today, we went for a drive up to Milford Sound. The drive takes about 2 ½ hours depending on how many of the mini excursions you decide to take along the route and whether the traffic lights are in your favour at the Homer Tunnel. The view of The Chasm, a series of waterfalls over the Cleddau River, was absolutely breathtaking. Photos cannot possibly capture the power of the water rushing down across the rocks. I don’t even know where to begin describing it, so will let this movie clip give you a teeny tiny glimpse.

We had a picnic lunch at Milford Sound, then took a cruise. Technically, Milford is a fiord, not a sound, and we saw glimpses of snow on top of the mountains, even though it is currently the middle of summer. We spent an amazing 1 hour 40 mins going all the way out to the Tasman Sea, then cruising back through the sound to the harbour. Along the way, we saw stunning waterfalls, some of them permanent, but many formed temporarily several hours after rainfall. This cute little group of sea lions congregate at Seal Rock. This part of the world is truly paradise on earth, and it’s no surprise that Fiordland in New Zealand is considered to be one of the ten natural wonders of the world.

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