Continuing my own tradition of not writing anything related to Valentines on Valentines, I’m just gonna recycle another article I recently wrote. I didn’t want to but this bloody holiday always puts me in a very bitter mood, and I don’t want to inflict that on anyone. So here is the first travel column I wrote for an internship I’m applying for…which I haven’t heard back in about three days now. Uh oh.
Milford Sound is the most exquisite site you’ll likely never visit. When people think of New Zealand (if they miraculously happen to know where the hell that is), they think of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown for Lord of the Rings. They think of the whitest beaches, the greenest farms, and the most-wicked cup of latte. But there is no place that embodies the essence of New Zealand quite as poetically as a single fiord cutting through south west of the South Island.
Approaching Milford Sound is like entering a dream you know you cannot latch onto. In fact, it’s been so many years since I’ve been back that my memories of it have started to fade, despite the special place it’ll always hold in my heart. I’ve only been floated down the fiord once, but even a couple of minutes is enough for that image to tattoo itself onto the back of your mind.
Historically, Milford Sound was a playground for the local Maori with expertise in predicting tidal patterns and fish feeding. It wasn’t discovered by Europeans until 1812, when Welsh explorer John Grono set food in the country. Carved by glaciers, sharp ridges emerge vertically on the calm blue waters, their peaks topped with ice. On certain sides of the 15-km fiord, waterfalls cascade down the side of jagged verdant mountains like blades of silver lightning crashing down an emerald green carpet.
Luxurious boat cruises run hourly from day to night, costing between $45 and $119 depending on the service you choose to receive. Part of the package includes a full three-course meal and an audiotape explaining the history of the magical fiord. The most exotic and magnificent marine life – from seahorses and dolphins to sea lions and whales – are on display from any angle of the cruise. Head over to the cruise decks to capture on camera sights you will you see only once in a lifetime.
11,000km from China 18,700 km from England, and 12,500 km from America, New Zealand is not a place you’d visit often. Likely, the first time you fall into the dream of Milford Sound will also be the last. Dream that dream, and don’t let it slip away.