Monday, August 25, 2008
So I guess I don't even really know where to begin... we arrived in Queenstown yesterday (read the Kiwi version of Tahoe) and it totally awesome!! It's a ski town in its prime right now, with the best snow in years, young people, great restaurant/bar scene, pedestrian streets, right on Lake Wakatipu. Totally cool.
The thing today though, tops everything we've done thus far on this trip. We took a flight-cruise-flight through Milford Sound. I really don't know how to even describe it, except you can understand why they filmed Lord of the Rings here. It doesn't even look like something this beautiful could exist on Earth. The Sound was formed by glaciers (so technically, it was misnamed and should be Milford Fjord) that carved out this valley in the middle of the Southern Alps. I really feel ridiculous trying to describe it, because it's impossible.
We were picked up at our hotel this morning just after 9:00 and were driven to the airport. There we boarded a plane (6-seater, including the pilot) and left Queenstown, taking an amazing flight through the mountains to Milford Sound where we flew through the Sound, that flows out to the Tasman Sea. Then we backtracked back through the Sound and landed. They took us to the pier and we boarded a ship and then rode through the Sound, which took about an hour and 45 minutes. It was completely unbelievable, with snow-capped mountains just shooting up out of the water, and water falls coming down 500 feet off the mountain into the Sound. Some of the mountains went 4000-5000 feet straight up, no incline at all, out of the water. It was truly unreal.
Once we were finished cruising through the Sound, our pilot picked us back up and we flew a different route back to Queenstown through the mountains. I really don't know what else to say except that I will never, ever forget what it looked like (especially because I took about 100 pictures), but I've never seen such raw beauty in my life. I guess I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves, but just know that the pics don't even come close to how beautiful Milford Sound really is.
P.S. The one day we needed it to be cloudless, sunny, and 50 degrees, it was. So lucky.