The Top 10 Holiday Park has to be one of the nicest we have stayed in so far. The facilities are spotless and it is beautifully landscaped. They do their own coach/boat tour to Milford Sound so rather than drive the 2 ½ hours there and back I wanted to enjoy it so settled for their option. The minibus held about 12 of us, mostly Brits although there was one family there from Russia I think and the Mum had a radiant smile, as the sun kept catching her gold top teeth. I wonder if they beep in airport security.
The drive was amazing. We were lucky in some respects with the weather as it was a clear blue sky but that meant that not all the waterfalls had water. We saw Kea birds (devil parrots), mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, mirror lakes, farms, you know the usual stuff for NZ. The farms around here are so big they check their stock by helicopter – who knew you’d need a pilot’s licence! It was spectacular. The road to Milford was built during the depression, the govt wanted to keep the workforce busy and they were paid by wheelbarrow load of rock that was carted away. The conditions were so hard it made me feel a bit pathetic for finding the tent cold last night. You really can’t put it into words how incredible the scenery is here, how green it all seems and then you pass the corner and it is solid rockface that in the rain comes alive with waterfalls and water running down, up and sideways with the breezes. There is no earth on the rockface so trees attach themselves with roots to each other and grow upwards with the lowest trees taking all the pressure. You see lots of V shaped gaps in the rockface where the pressure has been too much and trees have collapsed bringing down whole lines from top to bottom.
The boat trip was 3 hours along the sound (that is not a sound but a fjord) and we had a bbq lunch included. I am sure you have all seen photos of the tiny boats against the majestic mountains. The waterfalls were stunning and we went very close to one. To feel the power of the water up close was great, it was just a shame I did not remember the underwater camera! I felt very small against the backdrops and apart from the helicopters and planes buzzing overhead it was amazingly quiet. The tour also included a stop off at the underwater research centre. You get to go down to see black coral, starfish and watch the marine life. The rainwater lies on top of the fjords and seawater is underneath so the ecosystem is unique. I wasn’t sure who was watching who with the fish as they seemed to be really interested in all of us – maybe the gold teeth were too dazzling. Before we knew it we were back on the bus for the long journey home. A lucky couple in our party flew back so it was nice to catch up with them back at the park and see what the view was like from above.