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Old 05-17-2021, 11:05 PM   #1
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Anyone been there?

A spectacular picture appeared on my home screen this morning....
Milford Sound, NZ as it turns out. Anyone been there? By boat?
Is it brutal getting there or brutal inside?
The place just looks amazing from the perspective of Google Earth so wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge of it as a boater.
Thanks,
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Old 05-17-2021, 11:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by klee wyck View Post
A spectacular picture appeared on my home screen this morning....
Milford Sound, NZ as it turns out. Anyone been there? By boat?
Is it brutal getting there or brutal inside?
The place just looks amazing from the perspective of Google Earth so wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge of it as a boater.
Thanks,



Yes, I've been there and done an overnight boat cruise. It's quite spectacular, for sure. Typical fjord with very step drop offs and deep water. Just one, long road to get there by land.
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Old 05-17-2021, 11:31 PM   #3
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I`ve been there,on commercial boats. There are sightseeing ferries,and an 80ft steel ketch which did trips and overnights. Cruise ships made the Sounds an essential part of cruising NZ.
It is utterly beautiful. Rivals fjords anywhere.Wild and remote. Even more remote is Doubtful Sound where I overnighted on a small(?10pax) commercial cruiser, very remote, just getting there was difficult involving a long road trip and a mountain pass, but well worth the "Lord of the Rings" scenery. We went kayaking too. Bring lots of insect repellent, there are great clouds of voracious sandflies.

You get there from the Tasman Sea which can be rough. Once inside it`s fairly protected by the steep sides but I imagine you could get winds in there and consequent wave action. I think the Sounds interconnect, it looked a bit like The Inside Passage, last time (of 3X) I saw it from deck 10 of a cruise ship.
Highly recommended. NZ alpine scenery is the equal of anywhere I`ve been.
I don`t think you would find much in the way of boating services, you`d need to be quite self sufficient, Milford is probably the major town, basically a tourism establishment, reached by road by passing over and along a mountaintop glacier, with a fast downhill to Milford. I have a good story about catching a tourist coach while going downhill quite fast on a bicycle....fortunately the coach picked up speed..
You`d have trouble getting there at present, I expect you`d have to quarantine for 14 days, Australians and NZers have a "no quarantine" "bubble" arrangement. Very little if any Covid in NZ,they want to keep it that way.
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Old 05-18-2021, 12:46 AM   #4
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I've been there by land. I sailed in a regatta on one of the inland lakes in the area, and hiked there with my daughter. It's spectacularly beautiful country.

The Doubtful Sound trip includes a tour of the huge hydroelectric station there. The construction crew lived on a cruise ship at the head of the sound and tunneled in. Fascinating project.

It's very remote by boat, with no support or facilities. The recent FPB discussion got me dreaming of visiting by boat.
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Old 05-18-2021, 02:19 AM   #5
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Old 05-18-2021, 04:21 AM   #6
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Same scene different day!

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Old 05-18-2021, 05:29 AM   #7
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Was on a cruise ship with Milford Sound on the itinerary, but due to fog that day, we couldn't even get close. Nice to see the pictures here of what I missed!


I've had to "settle" for Norwegian fjords...
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Old 05-18-2021, 06:08 AM   #8
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Greetings,
Indescribable. Flew in from Queenstown. Took a fjord tour by boat. Flew out.
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:36 AM   #9
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I've spent several days boating on Doubtful Sound, but was in a sea kayak. It was odd in several ways. First, it has so many fresh water streams coming in that there is a lens of fresh over the salt. This has a strange effect on the shoreline compared with what I am used to. The tidal changes means that the "normal" shoreline organisms aren't there, or are in smaller numbers. No kelp, sea wrack, or barnacles to speak of. Makes for easy landings, but I found it odd. Probably for the same reason, I thought that the sea life was reduced. We saw some porpoise and a ray that jumped clear of the water, but basically no gulls or diving birds (until clear out at the mouth of the Sound).

All of what was missing was compensated by the scenery and shore life. Pigeons and parrots everywhere along the shore. If you set your spoon down unattended, a weka would run off with it. Many of the trees looked like Ents (the walking trees in Lord of the Rings). We saw one other boat in three days. I've got a few photos on another website. The C-Brats :: C-Brat Albums
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:45 PM   #10
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Yes
Both Doubtful and Milford are steeper than most of the BC fjords, different kind of beauty but very worthwhile to visit.
A landslide near the head of Milford kept the Cruise ship we were on away from that area, but all that we saw was quite spectacular.
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:52 PM   #11
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We traveled the long road down to the head and enjoyed the day on kayaks. Quite spectacular, water was as smooth as glass in February. Only disappointment was the utter lack of any decent tidepooling opportunities for my wife. We too noticed the freshwater lens.
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:44 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Indescribable. Flew in from Queenstown. Took a fjord tour by boat. Flew out.
I once flew into Queenstown. You are flying above snow covered mountains, next minute you are flying within them as the plane drops over Lake Wakatipu to circle ready to land on what I recall was a runway on top of a hill.
The beauty of NZ is preserved by its low population load, especially the South Island. Been there many times, incl cycling trips. Just 3 hours flying across "The Ditch" (pronounced "Dutch" by NZers), and no quarantining.There are amazing multi day walks but I only ever did day walks. It`s alpine, weather can change in a trice. The mountain with a cutaway in the pics above looks like Mitre Peak, which often catches a cloud on its extremity.
Watch for red/brown kea parrots which land on cars and systematically dismantle the rubbers in the windscreen wipers, windscreen surrounds, etc,while glancing at you for your reaction.
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:14 AM   #13
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You folks are a treasure trove! Thanks for that.
Another boat ride on the list it seems.....
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Old 05-19-2021, 02:04 AM   #14
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Same scene different day!

Attachment 117840
Yes, those pics are of the iconic Mitre Peak, so named because its shape is rather like a bishop's headgear. Sadly, Milford sound is the one must see place I never got to see when I lived there - which was the first 42 years of my life. I was tied up doing med school exams when my wife took some visitors there, and I had to pass on it, damn-it..!

But I did get to do the power station under the mountain across Lake Manapouri - amazing trip a mile down (winding road) in a bus, after crossing the lake in a fast cat ferry, to reach it. The penstocks were tunnelled through to the sound the other side of the mountain range, as mentioned.
https://www.newzealand.com/au/manapouri/

However, to me, the most beautiful place in NZ is a best kept secret, and is accessible by ferry ship from Bluff, the town at the bottom of the South Island, or by boats capable of ocean crossings - I refer to Stewart Island.

https://www.newzealand.com/au/stewart-island-rakiura/

It's one of the few places you will actually see kiwis (the bird kind) actually running round in the wild. They are so rare they are seldom seen on the main Islands other than in a sanctuary or zoo.
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Old 05-19-2021, 03:16 AM   #15
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Peter I'll see your Stewart Is and raise you Dusky Sound.
Probably the best stop between Milford and Stewart, and way more cruising potential than Milford which is only 7nm long.
I was there two weeks ago and while we didn't see kiwis we heard them. We did see a black robin which is a minor miracle of conservation as there were only 5 left anywhere at one point. To just see one in the wild was something else.
It does get kinda sporty weather wise. Or skipper spoke of an early forecast he heard casually mentioning "easing 70kn on Thursday"
We had great weather and as our deckhand told us "crayfish are abundant".
They are more or less everywhere you look while diving.
Much more like SE Alaska than Milford or Doubtful but with more interesting bush (forests).
No road access at all which is a good thing in my opinion.
It took us 20 minutes in a helicopter from Manapouri to join our ex navy vessel for the charter.
Planning to take our own boats down there hopefully next southern hemisphere summer.
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Old 05-24-2021, 02:48 PM   #16
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Milford Sound, N.Z.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klee wyck View Post
A spectacular picture appeared on my home screen this morning....
Milford Sound, NZ as it turns out. Anyone been there? By boat?
Is it brutal getting there or brutal inside?
The place just looks amazing from the perspective of Google Earth so wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge of it as a boater.
Thanks,
I have been there. Unfortunately, not by boat. The pictures do not do it justice. It is a spectacular and beautiful place. I always tell people they should go if they get the opportunity because there are few places left like that.
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Old 05-24-2021, 03:00 PM   #17
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Anyone been there

I’m planning a South Island circumnavigation in 2023 including Milford Sounds and Stewart Island.
Any info and tips would be much appreciated..
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Old 05-24-2021, 05:23 PM   #18
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Spent six months on our boat in Lyttlelton (the port for Christchurch) while on our circumnav. Flew into Milford Sound and did a commercial boat tour. It's as good as said above and better still.


Consider, if you have ever seen the Colorado Front Range (14,000 foot top) from Denver (5,280 feet) that the South Island Alps top out at 13,000 feet, but you're looking at them from sea level.


I have a West Coast of the South Island harbor chart, current in 1995, when we left on our trip, which was surveyed by James Cook (1728-1779).


Jeepster, as I'm sure you know, the West Coast is a tough stretch of water. We studied the charts and guides very hard and concluded that while it would be a wonderful place to take Sweetwater, our Swan 57 sloop, the risks were not worth the rewards. That equation changes some for you -- being based in the country, you don't have to worry about interrupting a long trip.


Harbors are few and far between and most of them are deep -- take several different heavy anchors and plenty of anchor rode -- at least 100 meters of chain.



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Old 05-30-2021, 04:14 AM   #19
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Jeepster, There is a book, COLUMBIA Cruises South, By Ralf S.Von Kohorn, covers Fiordland quite well. A good read, quite an adventure, circa 1976.
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