Rudyard Kipling visited New Zealand in 1891 and when he got immersed in the magnificent view of Milford Sound, he could not help it but called this stunning fiord the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Milford Sound Facts
Luckily, what we now see here is almost exactly what the famous writer and traveller saw back then. The natural heritage preservation efforts by the New Zealand government started quite early, so this piece of land (and a lot of others, of course!) has enjoyed protection for several decades.
Fiordland National Park was established in 1952, being the largest national park of the country, which occupies 12,500 sq km (4826 sq mi) of which Milford Sound is the northernmost fiord. It is also a World Heritage site.
If we take a look at some facts, Milford Sound gets even more interesting:
- Milford Sound is a 15-17 km (9-10.5 mi) long fiord – its length depends on whether you measure it from the mouth with a straight line or take the distance going all the way with a boat, which gives a little bit larger figure.
- The highest peak next to it is Mitre Peak rising 1692 m (5552 ft) above sea level.
- It is the only fiord in New Zealand with road access.
- The waters of Milford Sound go down to an average depth of 300-400 m (1000-1300 ft). There are different figures to be found concerning the deepest point ranging from 265 m (870 ft) to 512 m (1680 ft), the latter one is taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica, according to which this amazing depth is to be found at the fiord’s head.
- Annual rainfall can reach almost 7 metres (270 in).
- It is the most popular tourist destination in New Zealand reaching 1 million visitors per year.
- Milford Sound was named by John Grono in 1912 after Milford Haven in Wales.
- The fiord was carved by glaciers and gained its final shape after the last ice age, which ended 10,000 years ago.
Milford Sound Inspiration
Milford Sound is simply stunning. Awesome. Incredible. Magic. Mind-blowing. Breathtaking…
When you finally arrive here, after passing through valleys and the Homer Tunnel, the sheer size of the towering mountains around the narrow water inlet leaves no question how magnificent this place is.
In fact, at first sight, you simply stop thinking about anything at all for a couple of minutes. Guaranteed.
You’re lucky if it’s not raining or the clouds don’t cover the peaks. Since the weather is quite changeable around here, you can have sunny periods during the day, or just experience an end-of-day “clearing up” as it happened with me when I took the image you can see at the top of the post.
I’d say I had double luck because the moon was up in the west and it gave the scene an extra feel of magic. I set up my tripod in front of a puddle to be able to add some reflection, as an extra element in the foreground, to this grand view.
The picture below was shot just on the edge of the shore. I went for a vertical alignment here with my wide angle lens to capture a big chunk of the water (with some leaves and pebbles in the water) as well as include the peaks wrapped in clouds.
It has a more melancholic feel largely because of the grayish tones of the clouds and the dark green coloured mountains.
If these photos can convey to you only a fraction of the awe I felt there, I’m more than happy.
Frankly, they are just a shallow representation of this natural masterpiece the gods left here for us to marvel, hopefully, still for thousands of years to come.
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Text and photographs © Daniel Kerek
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