CAMPERVAN HIKING NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand | Milford Sound

July 13, 2011

Are you tired of waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful scenery? Well, there’s more.

Milford Sound — it’s really everything the guidebooks said and more. It’s beautiful. It’s spectacular. And if you get there before the tour buses and tour boats start shuttling people to and fro, it’s quiet, peaceful, and serene. We had already seen so many beautiful and amazing sights up to this point, but wow.

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But first, a little story about sand flies. When we woke up on this beautiful morning, and pulled back our window shades, I noticed all of our window were covered entirely in tiny black spots. At first, I thought that it was dirt…upon closer inspection, I was horrified to discover that…THEY WERE SAND FLIES.

Looking off in the distance at another campground, I noticed a guy dancing around with a towel, swatting the air furiously and almost psychotically. “Crazy Euro,” I thought. And then I opened the van door…all the flies that once covered the windows, immediately swarmed around my head, creating a Pigpen-like cloud of bugs. A light bulb went off. Now *I* was the crazy person swatting at the air.

Sand flies are the tiniest, most disgusting biting bug ever. They seem harmless, but when one gets trapped in your car, it can bite 90x before you even notice it. And then the bites last for weeks. They suck. I suppose its a small price to pay for such beauty…

We woke up early, packed up camp, drove down to the vistor center, bought coffee, lingered around, and took a mini hike to the top of a small hill to get this view:

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We opted out of another boat tour around the sound — too expensive, and we had just gotten off our cruise. Instead, we took a beautiful and easy nature trail around the sound.

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If it’s not already obvious, we took about a bajillion photos here.Milford Sound reminded me of the land of the lost – a prehistoric ecosystem dating zillions of years back. It reminded me of those faded old watercolor drawings made by explorers hundreds of years ago when they first discovered new land. I bet if you took one of those drawings and placed it in front of the view, not much has changed. Well, except the tourists. After we left, the tour buses descended on us…this was our cue to hit the road.

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