Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Infamous Milford Sound

The Ring of Fire trip, August 31st, 2013; Day Twenty-Eight of Thirty-Two.

I had to be at the bus stop for my tour at 7:30, so it was another early morning. The bus was about five minutes late but finally arrived. It's always fun standing out in the cold with a bunch of strangers waiting for a bus. The bus driver cracked a few jokes and played some music while he picked up the rest of the people. After listening to him talk about different places and mountains for a while I decided to write some of my blog and take a nap. I eventually ended up talking to a girl sitting near me named Myriam, from Austria. When the bus stopped we got some stuff at the grocery store and sat next to each other for the rest of the two hours (it was a four hour trip). She had just graduated from college in Australia and was doing some traveling. Since she was into cinema photography and in general knew how to work a camera much better than me, I learned quite a bit about what I could do in different situations and saw some of her travels in around the country during the trip.


We also talked to a girl from Missouri, named Catherine, at some of the stops the bus made to take pictures and see waterfalls. At one of the stops the water was drinkable right out of the river from the snow melt; it was cold but mighty refreshing. It seems to be much easier to talk to other travelers than the locals and you meet people from everywhere. Of course, that depends on the culture of the country. Eventually the bus arrived at Milford Sound and we boarded the boat. The sights from the dock itself were stunning. There were waterfalls hundreds of feet tall and we went nearly under one at one point.


So of course I had to get the GoPro camera out for that and hide my good one to protect it. Unfortunately, in awe, I dropped my camera but it only fell about a foot before hitting the bench. The mountains looked as if they came straight out of the water and all of the scenery was surreal. Like nothing I have ever seen, maybe in a movie like Jurassic Park but much better in real life.


I would love to stay there for weeks just exploring and taking pictures from above. The area is world renowned and hikers come from everywhere to hike there; winter treks in the mountains requiring professional gear and knowledge. After an hour and a half, that went much to fast, we landed back on the docks.


I ended up sitting next to a lady from Ireland named Una. She was traveling with two other people from Auckland where she worked as a nurse. We ate some delicious crisps and talked about travels, while the movie, The Blues Brothers, played on the bus. When we arrived back in Queenstown, she gave me the rest of the crisps and parted. Another awesome person that I met. For some reason people like to give me food, maybe I look too skinny? I don’t know, but food is always good.


After changing and walking around the city I met up with Myriam, Catherine, and a guy named Alex. Catherine was doing a study abroad in Sydney and was on holiday so decided to hop over to NZ. Alex was an engineer from England who was working in Christchurch but was on vacation currently. He was also on the bus and was pretty cool. We ended up going to get a few drinks to chat it up.

Around 11:30 I headed out, back to the DOC campground to get some rest. While at the bar, Catherine and I had both wanted to hike up to the gondola on top of the mountain that overlooked the city. We would attempt to make it to the top before the sun came up, so it would have to be another early morning. As someone who generally likes their sleep, I do tend to make the most out of my vacation days by waking up early and going to sleep late!

Read the full trip chronicles, here.

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