We woke at 6.30am ready to jump aboard the Milford Sound touring BBQ bus. The bus was full of people from Australia, Japan, China and the USA, making for interesting conversation and events on the way.
After a very informative commentary from the bus driver, we stopped for a few photoshoots and continued to the Fiordland National park for a BBQ lunch. Our boat cruise on the Milford sound was due to leave at 2pm so we had plenty of time… or so we thought. Here is where the journey went pear shaped…
The tour guide suggested we went for a walk in the mystical forest on ‘The Loop’ and arrive back ready for lunch to be served. He said it was a 20 minute walk. We were having a lovely time taking photos and enjoying the moss covered ancient forest and so were the young Japanese couple trailing along with us. When we reached the lake, we returned to the path (as advised) and continued on the loop track back to the delicious BBQ. We noticed that the Japanese couple had not followed us but decided that they must have taken another track back. Unfortunately, they had still not returned when we had eaten lunch and had packed up the BBQ and were ready to leave to catch the cruise boat. The driver hit the panic button. He RAN the loop track twice looking for them. We all piled into the bus so that he could take us for a drive to find them. Just as we were about to take off… they stumbled out of the forest. We gave them an applause and they apologised sheepishly and ate their cold BBQ lunch in the bus while we continued on the journey.
At this point we were running very late to get to Milford Sound and catch the 2pm boat cruise so the driver drove like a maniac. He roared along the hairpin bends (with cliff hanger drops down the side) in the 25 seater bus with a trailer on the back. He overtook buses, campervans, cars on blind corners and dangerous sections of road. Bags and drink bottles were falling from the luggage rack onto peoples heads. It was like a war zone (no exaggeration Margie!).
In order to stay in the seat, we had to hold the handle with all our might. Colin almost needed sedation by the time we got there. I think Dad was just stunned. We arrived with only minutes to spare and jumped on the cruise boat feeling quite frazzled.
Of course, Milford Sound lived up to it’s expectations, apart from the fact that we had NO RAIN. In a place which has 6-9 metres of rain per year, this is something of a miracle. The scenery was stunning and we couldn’t help but stand on the deck to take photos, where we were almost blown off our feet. At one point we were almost completely under a waterfall and my camera got a good soaking.
After two hours of cruising, sipping coffee and recovering from our bus drivers manic driving we returned to the bus with trepidation. The return trip wasn’t quite as treacherous, but almost. We were pleased to stop for an icecream at Te Aneu as by then we were getting pretty hungry.
We arrived home at 8.30pm… pretty weary but safe and sound. Colin cooked up a meal for a late dinner. He is still recovering from the driving experience!