Fjiordland - Milford Sound and Routeburn Track
Driving to Milford Sound we passed through the tunnel to see a valley vista of mountains 7,000 feet high on either side dropping down eventually into the sea. While staring at the gorgeous scene a kea, or alpine parrot, hopped up to see the car to survey us for tasty windshield wipers.
We saw hundreds of waterfalls and because of the spring weather and the resulting avalanche danger, we were locked into Milford Sound for an extra day. We did see a small avalanche on our way out.
The huge ferry trips that normally go out everyday were cancelled. Ed and I were sad to think we had missed the trip, but we were offered a ride on a small launch run by a naturalist (oddly named Hunter) staying at the Milford Lodge. We were lucky to have such an intimate look at the sound. We touched its mossy walls, saw penguins and seals diving in the 600' deep, cold water and met the Tasman Sea where the fjiords open out.
The lodge manager asked us if we would share our room with some of the hikers coming off the track. The road closure had filled all of the rooms in the sound. We said sure and this is how we met Andy and Vanessa who offered us their bach or beach cottage on the East Cape in a beautiful keyhole bay called Warahau. New Zealanders are some of the most open and welcoming in the world!
The following day we hiked ferny undergrowth and alpine meadows four hours on the Routeburn Track to the summit and back.