June 7, 2017, 4:51 a.m.
Bird's Eye View
Queenstown, New Zealand
For today I had booked a tour of the Milford Sound, the most renowned of the fiords (spelled with an i, not a j) in Fiordland National Park. As one of my Airbnb hosts put it, to not go to Milford Sound is to travel to Arizona and not go see the Grand Canyon. But it almost didn’t happen! The tour was to bring me into the park by airplane, showing me the entire landscape from above, followed by a short voyage by ship to see Milford, including Mitre peak and multiple waterfalls up close, and then return back to Queenstown flying by a slightly different route. It rained in Milford all morning long and my flight was postponed several times, leaving me to fear that I would in fact miss this candidate for the “eighth wonder of the world.” In the end the skies cleared up and we were cleared to fly, but it was too late to see the fiord by sea. But then, there is no way to beat seeing it all from the air, in a small, low flying six-seater airplane. And I got the co-pilot seat in the front! So, while a tour by ship would have been great, I could not be more satisfied with what I saw today. It is beyond words, and my photos from the plane cannot do it justice. Come and see it! That’s all I can say. I would love to return to the south island in the future and explore the park more, including another popular fiord, the Doubtful Sound, which is evidently a good place to go to see dolphins and other wildlife.
When I returned I went up the Queenstown gondola using my host’s yearly pass. I reached the top just in time to see the sun setting over the lakes and mountains in the distance. The full moon is in two days, but I could find nothing missing from the moon that was in the sky tonight. It was a perfect day.
Photos. As before, I’ve selected my favorites but have done no editing.
NEW ZEALAND (SOUTH)
NEW ZEALAND (NORTH)