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which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Hong Kong
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which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

We are in AUckland now and will be travelling to Te Anau and staying there for 3 days, the Wed (5th Dec), Thursday and Friday (7th). I have conflicting weather reports from different sources and whereas we had originally planned on doing the Milford cruise on Wed, and the DOubtful cruise on THursday and then doing some Milford walks on Friday, we are wondering whether we should change the dates since one source says there will be rain on Wednesday. Can one do the walks in the rain? Or would it be dangerous?

We have not booked any cruise yet. Should we book ahead or should we just turn up on the day and book? WIll the cruises be full and we be unable to book?

Te Anau
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1. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Wait while I dust off my Crystal Ball. Yes, I see it. Wednesday will be brilliantly fine, with a high probability of rain, and I see they have scheduled an earthquake as well :-))

We actually never look more than 24 hours ahead, and then we are usually wrong. Today (Monday) it's 24 degrees and fine at 11.30am, but there are a few clouds coming over the mountains to the West, and it could be raining by this evening; but maybe not.

You will have no trouble getting a cruise on Milford Sound, however you should probably book a day ahead for Doubtful. There are fewer operators, so less capacity.

It's quite safe walking in the rain, but obviously it's better if it's fine.

My suggestion would be to leave it until you arive in Te Anau before making your decision. You will get onto the Doubtful cruise on one of the days, and you will have a better idea of what the weather is likely to do. Both Milford and Doubtful are good rain or shine. We say you have to see them many times in all their moods to get a full appreciation of the area. If you strike rain, it's a good excuse to come back again.

Queenstown, New...
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2. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

If you strike rain then definitely go see the Sounds, they, I think are at thier best in the rain.

Don't worry about the forecasts. As you can see from previous writer we don't listen to them much.

Have a good trip

Hong Kong
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3. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Thanks vbp and Trelawn. Had no access to the internet yesterday in Lake Tekapo. Have now just arrivied in Te Anau. It is 6pm and it is gorgeous weather!!!

I think what I will do now is go and book the two tours with Real Journeys. I think you are probably right - it might be an extra special experience to be in the Sounds when it rains. I now recall when I was in Ayers Rocks some ten years ago, it rained quite a bit one day but I got to see the Rock with riverlets running down its sides and that was quite spectacular!

By the way, loved Lake Tekapo. My Kiwi colleague and good friend back at home said there was "nothing to do" in Lake Tekapo, but the place I stayed at had a lovely view of the Church and the Dog statue and the lake with the snow capped peaks of mountains in the distance and it was simply splendid and serene. Will be going back there soon for repeats.....

Did not like Queenstown much. Too touristy in my view, very similar to Jasper in the Canadian rockies.

Hong Kong
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4. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

We are in Te Anau. Arrived yesterday. Today we did

the DOubtful Sound cruise. THe weather here really changes very quickly, sometimes 4 seasons in one day! Although it was very sunny when we set off this morning, it was raining and cold later on when we were in Doubtful Sound but we had come very well equipped, so whilst almost everyone stayed inside the cabin of the cruise boat, we were out on the deck with our warm clothes and heavy duty rain ponchos which were waterproof plus plus!

I suppose it is a different experience with the rain coming down than

in sunshine. TOmorrow we will go on the Milford SOund cruise. Here it is very peaceful and tranquil, very very beautiful and very

different from Hong Kong, where we live.

After returning from the cruise to our cottage we cooked our dinner of fresh salmon and onions and peppers and ate facing the mountains and flowers in the garden, and draining our food down with a bottle of very nice Pinot Noir...

Daylight is until 9pm, it is 8:45pm now and we are looking out of our

cottage window into some very pretty gardens. THe owner of this

cottage lives in another cottage nearby and their dog Paris is sitting

in front of their door looking at us (we threw bits of ham out to him

earlier and he is proably expecting more).

New Zealand is very very beautiful, with fnot many people and lots of great scenery. COuld retire here were it not for the taxes (HOng KOng income tax is only 15%). People are very nice and friendly too.

Madison
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5. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Thanks for the little "postcard" from Te Anau. I'm glad that you're having a splendid time and enjoying yourself.

Too often, we worry so much about details when traveling that it becomes impossible to enjoy ourselves when we have the chance. It's a theme I've seen many times over the past year while reading this forum, among others.

I hope to do our entire 3-week trip in the near future without a single anxiety attack. My husband hopes I can pull it off, too!

Your little entry will come to mind every time my blood pressure starts to rise......

Te Anau
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6. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Hi BooFit,

Glad Te Anau has lived up to your expectations. I guess you are starting to understand why we are reluctant to predict the weather.

I will stick my neck out, and say I think it will stay fine today, and tomorrow looks good also. Seems you got lucky.

Hope the rest of you New Zealand holiday goes well also.

Milford, New Jersey
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7. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Excellent commentary - BooFit - you've certainly captured the magic that NZ can exert.

Many folks keep asking me why we keep going back, time and again, to Aotearoa - and your last description of your stay in Fjordland certainly captures the mood and affect. What's makes your report special is that, unlike most of the trip reports that we all put together - this wasn't just a filtered recollection of past experience - it was a live, up to the minute, example of the reality of the place.

And what a place it is!

Thanks - and I too wish you continued enjoyment on your holiday.

Hong Kong
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8. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Today we rose to bright cloudless skies, and vpb, you are right - today is a bright sunny day. First thing we did in the morning (after preparing our lunch for later) was to get information from the Fiordland National Park VIsitor Centre. Passed your Motor Inn vpb (at least I think it is yours - Campbell Motor Inn??) on the way to the VIsitor Centre and realised that your place has a very good lakeside location...

Got information on MIlford Road walks from the Visitor Centre. We had decided yesterday to do the 3:45 Milford Lake "Encounter" cruise with Red Boats, and decided that we should fit in some walks on the way down to Milford. AND WHAT A GOOD IDEA THAT WAS!!!

The Milford Orad is very very pretty, with lots of view points. We first stopped off at Lake MIstletoe and did the 45 minutes loop. There was no one else on the walks and we had the whole place to ourselves. Very easy walk, flat and "cushioned" with leaves. Took a few shots of the lake - very picturesque in the sunshine, with ducks on the lake and the wild flowers blooming on the banks.

Then it was back on the road (very scenic) and we were soon at Mirror . This is a short 10 minute stop. We drove on intending to do the Lake GUnn Nature Walk, but could not find the trail. The guide pamphlet said it was wheelchair accessible, but we could not find anything that matched such a description (though I don't need wheelchairs yet :) maybe later on...)

We will be returning to do the Key SUmmit trail tomorrow, so skipped that one when we passed by it, did see a lot of cars in the parking lot though, and a group of young teenagers just sunning themselves on the road - luing flat on the road!

Next was the Lady Marion loop, which again was fantastic. We sat on a slab of stone next to the waterfalls and had our lunch there - even our sandwiches tasted yummier, (do did the Coke Zero...) We only did the short 20 min loop and not the whole walk cos we had to be careful of time and the whole walk would have lasted 3 hours.

Back onto the Milford Road, and we then wnt thru the Homer Tunnel. There was a big tourist bus in front of us, so we did not find the tunnel too dark (unlike our return trip.)

THen we arrived at the Chasm. It certainlly is a very popular short trail lasting only 20 minutes, but "almost crowded" with tourists. It seems all the tourist buses stop here and allow passengers to do the walk. Probably becos it is a loop and it is impossible for people to wander off and get lost. Plus of course it is very scenic and easy to do for people with all ages. We met a lady doing the walk on crutches, and she was managing very well.

FInally, we arrived at the Milford. First was to stop at the Cruise Centre complex and get our tickets from Red Boats for the 3:45 pm cruise. THen we went and did the Piopiotahi Milford FOreshore walk. GOt a few very good shots of excellent views of the Mitre Peak.

The Red Boat Encounter Cruise was unbelievably good!! Weather was fine and sunny (and we were so glad yesterday it was raining in DOubtful Sound, cos the "feel" is so different. As I said in my post yesterday, if one is dressed warmly and in good weatherproof gear, it is an altogether different experience to be on the water with such majestic scenery surrounding you...) Today was such a beautiful sunny day and at this time in the afternoon, the sun is directly above Milford Sound and I guess it is probably the best time of the day to showcase the SOund. THe big tourist groups had gone - they were leaving in crowds when we arrived to get our tickets, and although we were in a smaller boat, there were not too many people on board and everyone sort of found an "ideal" spot to station themselves without having to jostle for space to take photos!

As it was a smaller boat we were able to get up real close to the cliffs and waterfalls. Saw seals, penquins, seagulls and RAINBOWS! As we went close to a waterfall, the staff of the boat brought out water glasses and filled them up with water from the waterfall and then passed them around to everyone on the boat. Gosh! The water tasted so sweet.... Beats Evian in my view.

Then all too soon it was over, 2hours 15 minutes had simple raced by.

Back now in our cottage. Just cooked our steak and onions and bell pepper dinner (yup, hubby loves his bell peppers...) and again enjoying it all with a Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Thought that New Zealand Pinot Noir is no different from Pinot Noir from France. Paris the owner's dog waited patiently at our open door whist we had dinner (we had dinner with our front door open as it lets in the sunshine and in front of our door are beautiful views). He looked so forlorn (the owners have gone out) that I cut a piece of my steak and fed him (the owners told us yesterday that Paris went around looking for scraps and people usually obliged). He now probably thinks I am his best mate..... Also gave him a bit of French bread to go with it and he seemed to appreciate that too...

What a lovely day!

WHat a lovely place!!!

BARCELONA.SPAIN
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9. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Thank you for your excellent report ¨Boofit. Having been in the area twice, it´s like beeing there for the third time.

Glad you are having such a great time, and you now understand why some people go back from time to time to that special country(someone, like me, from the other side of the world)

Enjoy the rest of your trip and keep posting some nice reports.

Jose

Surrey England
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10. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Just LOVED reading your report-----so much information.We never got to the Sounds on our trip a year ago but it is high on the list for our return visit.

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