Ever heard the expression “cross the river for water”? I’ve heard it recently, and yes, I did travel to the other side of the globe in order to find something I have in my “backyard”; mighty fjords and mountains. New Zealand and Norway are almost the exact opposite side of the world, yet they are so similar in many ways.
Milford Sound, is not actually a sound, it’s a fjord. From the ocean it’s entry is hidden, so even perhaps the biggest explorer of all time, James Cook, sailed pass it several times without noticing this impressive and stunning piece of art from mother earth. However, it was eventually found and has now become perhaps the most popular “must go” destination in New Zealand. That being said, it’s pretty remote so getting here can take some time – but trust me – it’s worth it.
I wanted to do two things here: hike and take a cruise. I ended up “only” taking the cruise, since I found out that you have to book the big hikes about one year in advance. Yes, you read right: one year! Perhaps it was better in the times of James Cook after all.
Anyway, I went on the cruise which lasted about 2,5 hours from the most inner point out to the open ocean and back. If you have ever been to New York or Hong Kong, you perhaps know that you often walk the streets looking up at the skyscrapers. It’s pretty much the same here, but you are not looking up on 200 meter skyscrapers – but 2000 meter mountains. I felt somewhere like Di Caprio in Titanic and Frodo in the end of The Return of the King, standing in the front of the boat.
So how would I compare this to the Norwegian fjords? Really hard to pick a winner, they are both amazing and Norway has many fjords but my favorites for sure are Geiranger and Nærøyfjorden. Milford Sound is bigger, higher and in that way more powerful. On the other hand, the Norwegian fjords are narrower and curves more. Also the Norwegian ones goes through many climate zones starting with some forest, then bush, rock and snow/glaciers on the tops. Here it’s a little warmer and VERY rainy so it’s very green and only the highest peaks are covered in snow. If I have to choose: Norway.
Though, being number 2 in the world when it comes to fjords is not bad, not at all! 🙂