4 April 2012

Blown Away [Bluff + Milford, New Zealand]

Contrary to popular belief, the southern most point of New Zealand's South Island is not Bluff, but a place called 'Slope Point', which is a deserted stretch of beach. Other than being the southern most point, it really has nothing going for it. So instead we decided to check out the imposter that is Bluff.

Unfortunately Bluff doesn't have much more going for it. It was so windy that Julia and I were almost blown off the top of the hill, but at least it was clear enough to get a decent view of Stewart Island. At the bottom of the hill we had the standard photo underneath the road sign, a bit of a wander around, then decided to move on.

We drove straight through Invercargil and on to Lake Monowai. This was actually quite a cool spot with a beautiful forest walk. The rivers flowing out of the lake were all dammed to create a power plant, and in the process the water level was raised about three meters. The lake rose up over the edge of the forest, so now you can look into the clear waters and see a drowned forest down below... kinda creepy.

We ended the day by driving up to Te Anu and camping at a DOC site. The following morning we drove on through to Milford. The drive was spectacular; driving through valleys between massive snow-capped mountains, thick forests and past beautiful crystal clear lakes.

The Milford Sound itself is breathtakingly beautiful. We took a boat cruise out onto the sound with a company called 'Mitre Peak'. Their boats go out the furthest, right to the mouth of the sound, and they also have one of the smallest boats so can get right in underneath the waterfalls (we got a little wet!). That also means less crowds. Thankfully the big tour buses have agreements with the larger companies, so we didn't have to deal with hundreds of old tourists. Mitre Peak are also one of the cheapest, and we saved ourselves a few bucks by hanging around for a couple of hours and taking a later boat. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the views; spectacular! I'm not going to try and attempt to describe the beauty, and my photos don't do it justice, so you are just going to have go to and see it yourself.

That night we drove back to Te Anu to camp. We found a beautiful spot right by the river and watched the birds working on the river and fishermen catching dinner.


  1. Your photos are amazing, now I need to go view for myself and try take some stunning photos. Looks like you had the perfect day for your cruise.


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