Te Anau and the Milford Sound region

Te Anau and a DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite on the Milford Road should be our home for the next three days, to indulge our hiking hunger once again.

While we are still stationed in the middle of the city on the associated lake, we choose to tackle another section of the Kepler Track. So in the morning we fin our way to the control gate of the lake from where we walk along the coast to Brod Bay, before taking the 900 m climb to the Luxmore Hut. The changing environment of sparse forest near the lake to dense, green jungle, lighter mountain forests and finally treeless heights is impressive. Near the hut we can eventually even enter the Luxmore Caves at our own pace before heading back home. After 29 km and 8 h, we sure have seen a lot.

Anyone thinking that the next day should now bring some relaxation, is wrong. We leave to explore the terrain along the Milford Road, part of the Fiordland National Park. After brief stops for a walk around Lake Mistletoe, photos in the Eglinton Valley and at the Mirror Lakes, we reach “The Divide.” There begins or ends the Routeburn Track, which we explore to the viewpoint Key Summit. Once at the top, we will follow an unmarked trail, from Lake Marian Lookout south and after some time on the ridge are rewarded by great views of Lake Gunn and Lake Howden. Alone this last tour takes again 4 hours, so we set up our camp in the evening at the Cascade Creek Campground.

An early start is necessary, because we have the winding mountain road Milford Road to its end at Milford Sound to cope with, where we have booked a cruise before 10 am. In between we cross Homer Tunnel, raw hewn through the rock. The 135 minutes on the Milford Sound might cost 170 NZD, but are definitely worth the money. The views are impressive and waterfalls of 135 and 160 m height are relatively small, when the mountains around it stand many times this height. This is definitely an experience that we do not want to miss.

But a cruise on Milford Sound is not enough for us that day, so we stop on the way back at “The Chasm” where the water masses have formed the rock in interesting ways. The second highlight of the day, however, is our trip to Lake Marian, a mountain lake, which is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The three-hour tour is on rough trails, over landslides, and tree roots, through the woods to a beautiful lake, on whose shores one could gladly linger longer.

Back in our Lucy, on the way to Mossburn, we agree that this day at Milford Sound and Lake Marian also belongs on our list of top days.

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