Milford Sound is not a port but it is a destination for cruise ships so I am including it in the port reports. The good news is that Milford Sound is a spectacular site and can be enjoyed without leaving the ship. It is part of New Zealand’s largest national park, Fiordland, located on the west coast of the South Island.
The park was established in 1951 and coves 3.1 million acres, including fourteen different fjords. Cruise ships often go to Milford Sound and spend the morning there so that passengers can enjoy the natural beauty in the park.
The visit commences with a trip into a narrow inlet in the mountains.
Granite, gneiss, and schist rocks formed millions of years ago by the intense heat and pressure in the earth’s crust have been thrust upward, folded, and faulted, covered by seas, and carved by glaciers in the last two million years so that now they form a rugged and magnificent landscape.
The flora clings to the steep rocky sides of mountains.
Heavy rainfall stained by falling over the vegetation forms a layer of freshwater over the seawater in the fjords and is home to a unique marine environment.
Hanging valleys created by glaciers are the sites of waterfalls.
A small town flourishes along a narrow strip of land at the head of the fjord.
Another trip at the south end of the park into Thompson Sound around Secretary Island and out of Doubtful Sound offers its own special beauty.