Saturday, December 26, 2015

Queenstown to Milford Sound

After our epic jetboat adventure on the Dart River, we drove straight from Queenstown to Te Anau, where we stayed for the evening before driving the rest of the way to Milford Sound the following morning.

Queenstown to Te Anau:



Somehow, I don't have any pictures from this part of the drive. If I had to guess, though, I'd say it consisted of mountains and a whole lot of sheep. We arrived in Te Anau a little before dinner and checked into our hotel before heading out to eat. Since it was pretty much the only place to stay between Queenstown and Milford Sound, Te Anau seemed to be exclusively populated by tourists. There were quite a few hotels and restaurants, a gas station, and a grocery store, but I'm not convinced anyone actually lives there. We looked into driving straight to Milford on this day, but there were only a couple hotels there, and they were predictably overpriced. So, we were up bright and early the next morning to continue our journey. 

Te Anau to Milford Sound:



There were a couple landmarks to see between Te Anau and Milford Sound, the most famous of which was the Mirror Lakes.
So pretty! It really was amazing how clearly you could see the mountains in the water. As usual, the pictures don't do it justice!
It turns out there are quite a few Lord of the Rings filming locations on the way to Milford Sound, but we didn't have consistent internet on this trip and weren't organized enough to research before we left the hotel WiFi, so we missed those. We did see a few busloads of people wandering around in a field, though, which is a pretty good indication that something was filmed there. As a general rule, if you are traveling New Zealand and come across groups of eternally-single-looking men staring into the distance/reenacting/taking pictures, it's probably LOTR-related.

As we got closer to Milford Sound, the mountains got larger and snowier.
Had to stop for a selfie!
The road eventually led us to a small tunnel that ran through the base of a mountain. Since it was a narrow road, only one direction of traffic was able to go through at a time. We had to wait for about five minutes for our turn, so Peter got out and took a couple of GoPro pictures.
We hadn't been this close to snow in quite awhile! 
The tunnel was extremely dark and seemed to go on forever. I tend to get a bit claustrophobic and driving through the mountain was definitely not my favorite part of the trip. Luckily, when we came out on the other side, we had a beautiful view of the mountains and were almost to Milford Sound! 

Stay tuned for a recap of our boat cruise, during which was saw penguins, seals, and a whale!


More New Zealand adventures:

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Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!

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