I’m heading back to when fulltime motorhoming was our way of life, and the arrival of Spring was something we looked forward to.
Which meant driving our motorhome “Purr-Inn” from the North Island via a small gap of rough seas and the Interisland Ferry to head on over to the South Island.
It was a pilgrimage of sorts for many motorhomers.
One year, 2008 to be precise, we planned to spend our Christmas Day enjoying the magnificent views of Milford Sound. As we usually spent this time of year with family or motorhome friends, it was going to be just the two of us. Making this trip made it one of the most unique Christmas days we have spent together. Not to say that our time with family and friends weren’t on our list of “special moments”. That trip, we swapped Turkey and Pudding to have a new adventure. To view Milford Sound and all her glory for the first time. We were looking forward to seeing this most talked about New Zealand icon.
We were intrigued and in awe even as we started the roadtrip to get to the Sounds.
Day Trip: Te Anau to Milford Sound
The Milford can be experienced from Queenstown. Having said that it does make for a very long trip. Leave our motorhome parked up at 12 Mile Delta just out of Queenstown then find an all-day carpark which is not easy.
Then head off on a 4-hour bus journey, experience the cruise for an hour and a half, repeat the four-hour drive back to Queenstown. Sounded like a not so relaxing way of experiencing this major attraction.
Where did we park up?
Instead, a more pleasurable way of doing it is to make a day trip from Te Anau which is a small town two hours from Queenstown and Milford Sound. Te Anau was right bang in the middle. Making it a perfect location for exploring the local area.
We were sold on that idea. So we booked our motorhome and ourselves into the Te Anau Motorcamp for four nights. Which meant we could leave our base early in the morning and take our time to stop along the way to the Milford Sound. The actual journey there is just as spectacular as the destination or dare I say it even more so. We thought it was.
Driving from Te Anau to the Milford Sounds
The alarm was set for an ungodly hour of 6.00am. For the Squire, it was, for me not so much as I am a morning person. We packed our picnic and out the door before the weather changed it’s mind once again. Not forgetting to pack our coats. There is a thing about being too optimistic.
This gave us most of the morning to drive the 120km, to have a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe, a longish walk and plenty of time to absorb and have plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Early morning can mean still waters and less wind if you are lucky, and instead, we were this particular morning.
Our cruise was booked around midday.
There are various waypoints along the way. A small lake going by the common name of “Mirror Lake”, this lake was to be a highlight of our morning. Here is why.
A perfect reflection of the mountains and The Clasm. For a mere 20 minute walk you can take in the experience of rushing water through a gorge it really is spectacular.
On arriving, we had time to have a walk to an advantage point to capture the beginning of the Sound before our cruise boat departed. It does pay to have a few minutes up your sleeve. For us, it always seems too.
Which company did we choose to go with?
The reason? I can’t recall any particular one, and due to it being a rather long time since our experience, nearly 11 years ago, I wouldn’t like to say what they offer or what their service is excellent or not so great.
What I can write about is that we absolutely enjoyed our experience onboard, all went smoothly. Ate our Christmas picnic lunch in total relaxation and having epic views. The crew were friendly from the time we purchased our tickets to disembarking.
Apart from savouring all our “treats” in our picnic basket, there were very memorable vistas.
All in all a very memorable Christmas Day way back in 2008.