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The 120 kilometer Milford Road between Te Anau and Milford Sound may be ‘The Greatest Drive in the World’ but it is often covered at speed and many beautiful attractions are skimmed over. Here are three easy, family friendly, short walks under 45 minutes.
1. The Lake Gunn Nature Walk starts at Cascade Creek, 74 kilometers from Te Anau. Cascade Creek is the site of an original road building camp and is now a shiny, modern Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite with excellent toilet facilities. In the time before Christmas it is world famous for its beautiful lilac and blue lupins. The nature walk, quiet and often passed by, is another kettle of fish. The flat, well maintained and mud free loop trail winds its way through mature beech forest to the shore of Lake Gunn where there are spectacular photo opportunities and a pair of rustic benches tempting travellers to linger in the dappled forest light. The friendly native forest birds, seen as often as their song is heard, are a treat for keen birders. There are several informative information boards along the way.
2. Below the precipitous Mount Isolation, The Chasm is a deservedly popular 30 minute walk. Two branches of the pristine Cleddau River merge and are forced violently through a narrow sculptured granite gap. The 20 minute loop track crosses The Chasm twice by comfortingly secure bridge, providing spectacular vantage points over the ancient and never ending argument between water and rock. If that is not enough to keep you entertained, the morning sun provides a glittering spectacle of green all through the forest as it gaps through the trees and their dew laden leaves.
3. The short Milford Sound Foreshore Walk, leaving from the main car parking area at Milford Sound Village may be busy but don’t let that put you off. The crowds ebb and flow with the rhythm of arriving and departing cruise boats. If you are patient you can have the most famous view in New Zealand to yourself. The real attraction is not the walk itself, but rather the opportunity to wander out onto the foreshore of the sound where the absolute best views of Rahotu or Mitre Peak are found. Ideally, time your visit around low tide. However the foreshore is one of very few gently sloping areas in the sound, it can be enjoyed to some extent wherever the tide may be.
Quietlight offers easy, customised tours to Milford Sound, Mavora Lakes and Coastal Southland.
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