When I decided that New Zealand would be part of my round the world trip, Andy and I planned that he would meet me there for two weeks for Christmas and New Years. I was busy (and overwhelmed) trying to organize the first few months of my trip in Southeast Asia, so I happily let Andy handle the details for our time in Kiwi Land. One thing we were most excited about seeing was Milford Sound a few hours away from Queenstown on the south island. After a bit of research, Andy picked Real Journeys because they are the only company that offers an overnight cruise instead of just a day trip, and we thought this sounded like a great way to experience Milford Sound without feeling rushed. They also had an option to be picked up in a bus from Queenstown, which worked out great for us since we didn’t have our own transportation.
The bus picked us up from our hostel in the morning, and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we would be making several stops along the way to take in the scenery. Our driver, Justin, was extremely knowledgeable about the area and seemed really passionate about this area of New Zealand. Shortly after leaving Queenstown we stopped at a nearby lake for some pictures, and then at the Kingston Flyer, a steam engine train. (To read more about the train, see Andy’s post here.) We didn’t ride the train, but we did take lots of pictures of it and of the neighboring Lake Wakatipu.
After our lunch stop, Justin drove us through the Fiordland National Park. The park is a rainforest, where is usually rains two days out of every three. However, we were lucky with a bright sunny day. Since the park is a protected area, there is one road that goes through it and very limited areas where you can walk.
In the park, we stopped at Mirror Lakes, where we thought the sign had fallen down, until we realized it was intentional.
We stopped at Monkey Creek, where the water was so clean we filled our water bottles. Andy also insisted on pretending to be a monkey.
Justin also took us to a place called the Chasm, which was a short walk through the forest to thundering waterfalls, which we could hear more than see.
This tour we took from Queenstown to the boat where our Milford Sound cruise would begin was a welcomed surprise. We never expected to see so much and learn so much about the surrounding areas before even getting to the the ship. We were off to a great start.
Andy and I received a discount on our Milford Sound trip from Real Journeys, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.