Milford Sound is known to rain over 300 days a year. The rain makes up the Milford Sound experience. You may have guessed it, we were not the lucky ones to be there when it was sunny – just one day too early!
To get to Milford Sound, we had to first get to Te Anau and make our way up the Fiordland National Park before we can reach Milford Sound. Expecting rain and very limited resources available, we bought a tarp to cover our flimsy tent! We were concerned that the tent would not sustain the heavy rains and winds in the Fiordland. I finally get to put my extra shoelace that I brought from home to good use to tie the tarp to the tent!
The best weather we experienced in the Fiordland was right when we arrived at Te Anau. The walk around the lake was nice and sunny, so sunny that I got sunburned again! New Zealand attracts many travelers and hike enthusiasts to the country to partake in one of their 9 Great Walks. In the Fiordland itself contains 3 of the Great Walks. There are multi-day walks through various trails with specified huts as stopping points. I was really excited to do one of the Great Walks prior to coming to New Zealand. I have later learned how popular they are and how you have to reserve a spot in the huts or campsites way in advanced to ensure that you have accommodations during your trek; freedom camping are not allowed on these trails. Since the walk through Abel Tasman, I also realized they are called ‘Great Walks’ because they are mostly consisted of walking rather than trekking through some off beaten path. I was keen on the idea of participating on the Milford Sound Great Walks, but decided not to since I did not plan in advanced and most of the walk would be drenched in rain! While we were at the Fiordland, we went on a short trail to Key Summit, which is part of the Routeburn Great Walk. The trek was nice until the clouds started creeping in. By the time we reached the top, it was completely covered in clouds!
We drove up to Milford Sound the day before our cruise to check out short trails in the surrounding. It started to rain then hail at some point so we became discouraged and just stayed in the only café in Milford Sound. As anticipated, the cruise the next day was consisted of rain and fog. The mist in the sounds makes up the Milford Sound experience. You see many little waterfalls because of the rain. People who were very keen on the best views of the cruise stayed outside in the back of the book and were soaked in rain!
After all that rain, I was more than excited to take a warm shower back in Cromwell! Milford Sound was our last big stop before heading to Greymouth where we will be helping out a bed and breakfast during the Christmas week. We breezed through Christchurch since our travelmate was not very interested in the city. I was so surprised to see so many of ruins since the earthquake in 2011 still remained untouched. We did spend a night at a free campsite close by Christchurch city center. To our surprise, this free campsite was well maintained and probably one of the better campsites we been to.