The next day we'd booked a trip to the Milford Sound, Fiordland's most popular fiord. Thousands of people flock there daily in peak season. Milford Road (the only paved way to get there) is crammed with tour buses, camper vans, and shitty rental cars clunking through glacier-carved mountains and valleys.
Eventually the road pops out at a tiny harbor on the edge of the sound. You can take an hour-long cruise on the water, go kayaking, or stay overnight. The boats leave in intervals of half an hour. The water doesn't get too crowded and gives the illusion that there aren't busloads of Asians and Germans waiting in line on the shore.
I grabbed my camera, shoved my way to the front of a boat, and got ready to be a mega-tourist.
That's triangular mountain is Mitre Peak. It's on all the postcards.
We forced a kind couple from Minnesota to take this picture for us.
I might have just been caught up in the Milford Sound fervor, but I thought the whole experience was pretty magical.
My journey was ending. I had a plane ticket from Queenstown to Wellington for the next day. Sigh. Time to start living a real life again.
The South Island was wonderful. We had great weather, met some great people, and saw really terrific sights. But I feel bad for neglecting the North Island. So I've booked a flight to Auckland in June for a big North Island adventure (and not on a tour bus this time).