What’s a visit to the South Island without dropping by Milford Sound? For the unitiated, Milford Sound is a fjord located in Fiordland National Park, and has received numerous international accolades, such as being awarded 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor, and being described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. In fact, Milford Sound is widely acclaimed to be New Zealand’s most popular and beautiful tourist destination.
(Image from http://www.newzealand.com)
Unlike Doubtful Sound which exudes a softer and gentler character, Milford Sound is home to more dramatic landscapes, a result of the fjord being carved by glaciers during the ice ages. There are so many things to do at the Sound – you can hike the Milford Track, go kayaking, or sign up for a leisurely day cruise in the Sound and do some wildlife spotting. In fact, you’d get to see the lovely sights of humpback whales, penguins, and you might even spot the very friendly kea! We decided to do some day scuba diving with Descend Dive.
Before arriving at the Sound, we stopped at a lookout point to take some pictures. Almost instantaneously, a pair of keas swooped down from above our heads and landed straight in front of us!
The kea might look small in these photos, but trust us, they are big birds. Their wing span is almost the length of our arm span. They looked so majestic, with the different hues of green on their feathers, especially when their wings were spread out in flight. Keas are well known to be very intelligent birds, and they may even operate in groups to ‘trick’ you and get their hands on your snacks. So be careful! You can find videos on them on YouTube. These birds are loveable and endearing, and are native to New Zealand. They are easily spotted near Milford Sound.
After spending our time with these lovely birds, we then proceeded to the Milford Sound Cruise Centre, where we would meet our diving instructors. This is the lovely sight that greeted us.
We got into our suits and then prepared to go for a guided dive. For certified divers, you even get to dive with dolphins out in the open. For non-certified divers, you’d have a 35 minute dive with an instructor. Here’s what you can expect to see underwater:
(Dogshark – image from: http://mustdonewzealand.co.nz/dive-trips-milford-sound-diving-tours/)
(Black coral – image from http://descend.co.nz)
(Fur seal – image from: http://descend.co.nz)
Plus a whole lot more! 🙂
The entire day was spent diving and spotting wildlife – it was an amazing experience! We strongly recommend you try this out too!
We’d say that Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound are entirely different (check out our previous post on Doubtful Sound), and it is definitely worth it to visit both for a day at least, if you have the chance. You’d be amazed at how different they are and how beautiful they both are in their own ways.
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