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Friday, June 25, 2010

Waterfalls of Milford Sound

There's generally a lot of debate visiting Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound. Luckily, we had enough time to see both on our trip. The over-night in Doubtful so relaxing, so calming, so peaceful & restful. I do think that the drive to Milford is much more dramatic & even more beautiful than the adventure across Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound. However, I preferred the towering, sheer cliffs of Milford to Doubtful. They are both beautiful & different, and my husband preferred our time at Doubtful better because there wasn't a crowd or mob of tourists.

We arrived in the rain, sailed in the rain & departed in the rain. It's still (also) one of the rainiest places on Earth & it's that rain that makes all the spectacular waterfalls.

Again, I'll go big on these pictures because it's what you need to appreciate the size and magnitude of the sound. Most of them were taken with my little P&S due to the rain & it's difficult to get a crisp, sharp shot with all the mist in the air.

It was neat to see a waterfall twist and turn, break left and right as it crashed down into the sound with a fury.

Sometimes the waterfalls weren't even big enough to channel all the runoff rain down & temporary waterfalls formed like streaks running the mountain face.

Looking at falls like these, I can understand why so many are named after bridal veils.

The rain was tough- it made standing outside to get a good view difficult & drenching, but without all the rain there wouldn't have been nearly as many waterfalls.

Sick of waterfalls, yet?

Hubby was bored with them quickly, but I was fascinated & insisted on standing outside to watch every single magnificent one of them glide past us.

Um, yea. Make sure your camera isn't zoomed in when you hand it to somebody!

The water appeared to be coming out with such force that it was shooting 20' out from the edge of this cliff.

And that's right where the captain was headed- he put the front end of the boat into the waterfall spray.

There was mist every where & everything got a really good drenching- we went inside for a few minutes.

Here's a quick video right before we lost most visibility- the camera quickly gets tons of mist on the lens and all shots are worthless. I suggest taking plenty of extra rags to all photographers.

Some many little ins & outs, crevasse around the sound. It was neat to see all this water disappearing into oblivion behind the mini-mountain of trees.

Obviously not visible in the photos, but the clouds were pretty fast moving through the valleys & mountain tops.

This short video gives a look around the sound as we are passing by one of the more spectacular walls & really gives a better sense of the enormous amounts of water flowing and just how steep the walls really are.

The rain clouds got really intense and pretty low for a while & we couldn't see the tops of any of the mountains.

An actual shot of the sound & not just a waterfall/mountain.

There are permanent waterfalls that are there almost all the time & temporary waterfalls that only flow when it's raining. I can't imagine how these waterfalls haven't wiped of all the algae and fern growing on those rocks.

Out near the Tasman Sea, we saw a few sea lions.

All in all, the tour was great if you are prepared to get wet & appreciate the fact that the sound is more beautiful in the rain. A clear day, with blue skies would have been nice, but I realize that's not really how the Sound is everyday & not how the famous waterfalls are created. It's the more accessible sound & the crowds/boats are much bigger here than Doubtful. Real Journey did a good job with the boat & tour- it was very similar in format to the Doubtful Sound boat.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Fabulous, fabulous Friday! No major plans for the weekend- lots of catching up and relaxing.

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