I remember learning about the fjords of Norway when I was in about the third grade. They fascinated me more than any other land feature that year. More than oceans, deserts, mountains and canyons.
I wanted to see those tall peaks that plunged into narrow bodies of water.
And now I have.
But not in Norway. (One day I will.) This fjord was in New Zealand.
Milford Sound ticks all the boxes for beauty: glistening water, glimpses of glaciers,
soaring trees, tall peaks that plunge into narrow bodies of water, and my favorite, waterfalls.
It had rained cats and dogs in the previous couple of days so there were most definitely waterfalls. Our little boat got as close as possible so that the spray cooled our faces.
I can most certainly recommend the boat ride that cruises down the fjord to the Tasman Sea. It’s the sort of restful adventure you need on vacation. But the four hour bus ride to and from Queenstown is for the birds. If you go this way — rather than taking a helicopter or plane — take a book, a charged phone or iPad, earphones and music, SOMETHING! that will keep you occupied on the very long journey. It’s a delight going down to the sound. So much to see. But headed back, the bus driver is on a mission to get home. And those four hours are l-o-n-g.
I have friends who flew and marveled at the experience. Got some extra change? It’s an extra $400 a person. Then go ahead and fly!
In retrospect, I’d go anyway I could. If only for the little girl I once was who fell in love with fjords.
Ⓒ Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman