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 Fiordland 

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Imagine a place that seems like a dream, where the natural beauty is so intense that any photo or film cannot match what represents to see it alive. We are talking about the Fiordland National Park, in the South Island of new Zealand. The place is so nice that we are not afraid to call it one of the most beautiful places in the entire New Zealand. Call it number one destination is still not enough. The whole area was declared Patrimony of the Humanity and that means only one thing...You cannot miss on a trip to New Zealand. It is a must.

To Start, the 14 Fiords comprehending the park were digged by the melting ice, winds and rain during millions of years. The result is a labyrinth of canals and rock faces rising up to 2000 metres. Not happy with that, the mountains decided to down below the water level for another 480 metres deep. Adding to all this, melted Ice from the top of the peaks forms hundreds of waterfalls literally everywhere, some falling strait into the sea. All these fresh water don't miss with the sea water staying on the surface filtering the sunlight, allowing sea creatures from the deep to live closer to the surface, as is the case of the black and red corals. The better known and visited part of the park is called Milford Sounds (Photo), but there are others interesting as well as the Doubtful Sounds nearby. Besides the Fiords, the Fiordland National Park is considered one of the best in the world for trekking. There are many different trails to all difficulty degrees. The better known is the Milford Track, 55 km long, which passed by places capable of take the breath off sharks. If you feel breathless, don't worry, there are huts to overnight.

One of the best panoramas is the access road itself. The road runs from the town of Te Anau, a small but gorgeous town by the lake of the same name. The lake is the second biggest in New Zealand after lake Taupo. The town of Te Anau, besides being beautiful and charming has plenty of activities to do. Glow Worms Caves, Kayak excursions on the lake and nearby fiords, plus excellent pubs and eateries. To make the 120 Km that separates Te Anau from Milford Sound, the jaw open jaw tourist will find out the progress is slow due to many stops your camera will ask you to make. Don't be surprised if your camera starts crying on your hands due to the beauty of the places along the road.

The detail is that this road is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world, making its way between valleys, with fantastic views to snow peaks. When you reach the highest point and arrive at the Homer Tunnel, if the weather permits you will have a fairy tail view of the  surrounding. The tunnel took 25 years to be finished, carved for about 1 Km long in very hard and cold rock.  After the tunnel, and in your way down the pass, the beauty never diminish. More waterfalls and peaks can be seen just beside the road. One of the most interesting points to stop in you way down is the Chasm. It is a small park which the round trip takes about 20 minutes by foot, crossing a creek called Cleddau. The detail is that the force of the water during years, had dig holes in the boulders, shaping very interesting forms into the rocks. Some times the river disappears in a hole, coming back alive ahead. Another few kilometres and you are in the Milford Sound.

To explore the Fiords the happy tourist has 3 options. The first is in total comfort aboard big size boats with panoramic windows and open decks. They also have grog and food aboard, leaving from the Milford Warf. They follow the immense fiord all the way until reach open sea. During the tour they approach waterfalls and even go underneath them not to mention the dolphins that very often came to play with the boat. The views are extraordinary. If you decide to ride on the open deck, get ready because it is cold and humid outside, but you will be rewarded with a much better view.

 Another way to explore the fiords is with a kayak tour company. There are plenty of options from a couple of hours to many days touring the Fiordland. Some of these companies promote mix packages, such as going to a point walking in a trail and coming back by Kayak. Another option is to see the Fiords by planes or choppers. The tourist never will forget the views from the top, and your bank manager or credit card company never will forgive you for the expenses. Of course I am joking, it is not cheap but at the same time it is not too expensive for such of opportunity. The only recommendation for any tour you do to the Fiords is to check the weather before you go.

All the area has a micro Climate which rains or snow in about 200 of the  365 days of the year. The difference in visiting the Fiords on a sunny day or cloudy day is the same as day or night. On a clear day you will be able to see the top and have the real dimension of the size of the whole wonder. The colours are fantastic and the waterfalls can be seen falling from everywhere. Make sure your camera has extra  batteries charged and plenty of space in the memory card to register all the surrounding environment. If you go by yourself and the time of the year is near winter, not only make sure the weather is going to be good but check if the road conditions as well. Many tours to the Milford Sound departs from Te Anau and Queenstown or Dunedin, as well as Intercity buses do the same route. We strongly recommend to spend a night or two in Te Anau. The place is gorgeous and you have more time to explore the Fiordland National Park. 

Distances by road from Milford Sounds to:

Te Anau 120 km 2 hours & 15 min (no stop)
Queenstown 310 km 5 hours & 10 min
Dunedin 412 km 6 hours & 30 min
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