A trip to the South Island almost always involves a visit to Milford Sound. It’s interesting that tourists drive half a day from Queenstown for some reason, even though the drive from Te Anau only takes a couple of hours. More accurately, as luck would have it!

Milford Road is one of the most dangerous roads in the southern hemisphere
Gotta hand it to luck: for the next two days, the road was closed completely.

The place is unique in its atmosphere. It is not just a combination of beautiful mountains, sea and waterfalls. After visiting the fjord, one wants to return to New Zealand, despite the long flight and expense.

Milford Sound is a classic example of how difficult it is to capture real beauty in a photograph. Located in Fjordland National Park and a World Heritage Site, the fjord is a true natural wonder of the world.

In English there is a toponym “sound,” which translates as strait. The strait is wider than a bay and a fjord. A fjord, in turn, is a land cut by glaciers. So, in reality, Milford is more of a fjord than a strait. The name Milford Sound is a geographical blunder by intrepid pioneers William Homer, Quintin McKinnon and Donald Sutherland.

It was because of them that Milford Sound immediately became a popular tourist destination. And today, every visitor to the shores of the distant New Zealand islands dreams of a trip here.

One of the main attractions of the road to Milford is the meeting with Kea parrot. Kea live only on the South Island of New Zealand, most often in or near alpine areas, although they can sometimes be found in the coastal area.

They are very intelligent birds who know how to work in team with their congeners to achieve a common goal. They are very curious and not afraid of humans. They like to sit on the roofs of cars and buses that are waiting to go through the mountain tunnel

We drove from Milford Sound to Queenstown at sunset and it was especially beautiful. The section near Lake Wakatipu that we photographed was vividly memorable.

Lake Wakatipu is the third largest and first longest lake in New Zealand. The name translates to “bay of spirits.”
It is a magical lake with its own “heartbeat” – it rises and falls about 20 cm every 27 minutes. A combination of the surrounding mountains, wind and atmospheric pressure cause the water to sway back and forth, creating the effect of standing waves – seiche.

Queenstown is the mecca of extreme enthusiasts. There’s bungee jumping, turbo jets, skydiving, paragliding, and heli-skiing! I’m not sure those words even translate.

By the way, it was in Queenstown that bungee jumping was invented. But even that didn’t win me over. First of all, the prices of the listed ways to die, to put it bluntly, overpriced. Secondly, I’m not an extreme. I realized this when I broke my arm on roller skates when I was 10 years old. Third, the weather in the afternoon was so bad that we did not even go up to the observation deck.

Although it was a honeymoon, we did not live in 5* hotels (there are no hotels in principle), and we did not really want champagne for breakfast either. We mostly chose private lodges or apartments in the cities. After all, in New Zealand, all the most important things are behind the walls of stone buildings, as you have already realized.

Wanaka is the jewel of the South Island. The beauty of this place sent shivers down my spine, and my heart stopped and went again. However, you’ll see for yourself now!

Wanaka attracts tourists all year round. Summers are hot and dry – perfect for water sports, hiking and biking. Winters are cold, with four ski areas for skiers and snowboarders. Spring is the perfect time to hike the lake trails and paths, and the vibrant colors of fall are perfect for photography.

The stunning mountains and pristine lake and proximity to Mount Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, make Wanaka an ideal base for outdoor activities.

The ascent is made from lake level through the sheep property to the summit at 1,578 meters. The trail is very well marked. It is quite difficult to hike, despite the easy level assigned to the trail. Almost immediately the most breathtaking views of blue Lake Wanaka, its islands, bays and the mighty snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps open up to the eye.