Early morning drive into Milford Sound to catch our Go Orange cruise aboard the Milford Haven.
I had known that Milford Sound is a beautiful place, as I’d heard that campsites along the Milford Track, one of the Great Walks in New Zealand, need to be booked months in advance due to popularity – apparently it is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Although we were unable to do the multi-day hike, a relaxing cruise around the Sound was a good alternative.
Standing on the top deck, despite the chilly morning air in the shadows of the grand cliffs, you couldn’t help but look around in awe at the steep waterfalls tumbling down, the vegetation hanging onto their rocky homes, the rising sun reaching over the tops of the cliffs draping ever-growing veils of light in the misty sky above us.
We were told that we had particularly lucky weather. Clear skies in a place that receives a mean annual rainfall of over 64cm, one of the wettest places in the world. And so it seems natural that we weren’t the only ones out enjoying the day, as seals were energetically playing in the water and friendly dolphins came to swim beside us.
Even after the cruise and just driving through the fiordlands, you are struck by the awesome landscapes towering around you.
Luckily for us, there are many Department of Conversation campsites dotted along the route to Milford Sound, which allowed us to spend the night in the Fiordland National Park, and watch the sun set behind the peaks and emerge in the morning to the clouds reflecting on the still lake.
Walking through the forested campsite in the morning, tents pitched between the trees, sleepy hellos from strangers of many nations, there was a subtle yet undeniable sense of common tranquility – for this short period of our lives we are fortunate enough to travel freely and live among stunning landscapes, sleeping at their feet and exploring their reach. Through the quiet morning haze, as tent zippers slowly opened onto the sunrise, the profound unspoken acknowledgment of fortune among us travellers settled deep within me. And, smiling, I could only hope we bring this sense of serenity wherever we go, even our seemingly mundane experiences in our little corner of the world.