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It's no wonder the magical Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's top tourist destinations. The geography here is pure drama - a deep fiord carved by an ancient ice flow that once withheld the ingress of the Tasman Sea. As the ice melted at the end of the last ice age the sea flowed into the fiord, forming the great Milford Sound. As you cruise the azure waters you will encounter unique Fiordland wildlife and be humbled by a scenic mountain scape on a truly grand scale. Wonder at the lush forests, majestic waterfalls and plunging, ice gauged cliffs. For the ultimate Milford Sound experience, combine bed and boat. Soak up the special ambiance of the sound overnight and then beat the crowds the following morning for a more tranquil perspective of this remote wilderness.
Great sights of the Sound
Regardless of the weather, the Milford Sound reveals itself with spectacular character. Should you arrive to absolute calm, clear skies and stare into the reflection of the glassy waters, you will see an enchanting view of towering mountains contrasting against a topaz blue sky. Arrive to thundering rain and lashing winds and the Sound will turn on a different show altogether. Hundreds of waterfalls form as enormous volumes of rainwater flood titanic catchments and tumble from the cliff tops in great veils of wind-blown spray. Extreme moods aside, the 160m Bowen Falls and 146m Stirling Falls are the most magnificent and their waters crash into the ocean come rain or shine. The 1692m Mitre Peak rises from the sea and vibrant marine life abounds in the pristine waters.
The calm before the crowd
Treat yourself to a night amongst the serenity and scenery of the Milford Sound and be further rewarded with a true taste of wilderness all to yourself. Many regard the Sound as a spiritual place that provides a soul nourishing experience. Waking early, the sense of magic and isolation is greatly magnified by taking to the water before the tours, buses, and cars flood the ambience with hustle and bustle. Gaze upon undisturbed colonies of seals basking on the rocks and watch dolphins dance in your bow wake. The Milford Sound is also home to the rare Fiordland crested penguin and visitors take great pleasure in witnessing their playful antics. If you are lucky you may even spot the occasional whale that enters the sound. The sights are simply better when you don't have to share with the masses!
The joys of sleeping at the start line
There is something particularly special about evenings spent in the Milford Sound. A wonderful array of accommodation options are available, all of which make the most of your surreal surroundings. You are also assured early passage to the amazing attractions before the flock arrives, not to mention a taste of real kiwi hospitality. Wake up in paradise and while other visitors are spending their morning in transit, you are enjoying a hearty kiwi breakfast and preparing to savour the all the charm of Fiordland. Whether you select a luxury riverside chalet or the comfortable dorms, the end result is the same: you are first to the start line and the stunning Milford Sound is all yours to explore by boat.
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