Today we took a day trip to Milford Sound. It is only 80 kilometers from Queenstown, but the highway goes down, over, and around for a total of about 320 kilometers of driving. We signed up with a smaller tour to avoid driving ourselves or staying at Te Anau, a town on the way.
On the way, the driver pointed out various scenic spots along the way. We passed a "Red Tussock Presevation Area", which the government set aside as an example of the way the country looked before farming took over. Red Tussock was the dominant plant, but doesn't have much nutrition for sheep and cows, so early settlers ripped out red tussock and planted grass.
We also stopped at "The Chasm", "Hollyford Valley Scenic Overlook", and a waterfall. These were all very scenic, but nothing compared to Milford Sound itself.
Near Falls Creek
The guide informed us a sound is formed from a mountain range rising up from the sea floor, while a fjord is carved from glaciers. In any case, Milford Sound is a World Heritage Site, and will be preserved for the future.
It rained, as it does fairly often, so we were treated to dozens and dozens of waterfalls, which looked spectacular cascading down the sheer cliffs. The mountain side was covered with trees, and the two hour cruise passed by quickly as we stared all around at the beauty.
I took a zillion pictures and really hope they turned out!