There are plenty of good reasons to visit Milford Sound. Any visitor to the area can, and usually will wax lyrical about the amazing photographic opportunities. We’ve listed a few of them:
1. The iconic Mitre Peak takes its name from its resemblance to a Bishop’s mitre. The sharp contrast of the cliffs, soaring almost 1,700 metres up from the fiord against a solid blue sky is one of the most popular photo scenes in the country. It is also hugely popular with Kiwi artists, many of whom have painted the scene in their own styles. The ‘classic view’ is of the Mitre rising up from the fiord, taken facing west with the sun glinting off the water in front.
2. On a clear day, the fiord becomes a giant looking glass, reflecting the peaks into a stunning mirror image of themselves. It may take a bit of patience to catch the perfect opportunity for a shot like this; however it is well rewarded with a lifetime memory.
3. The marine life. Seals, dolphins and even the occasional whale can often be caught (on film that is!) frolicking in the fiord, or following the wake of the cruise boats. Sea mammals are protected here, and as such are quite friendly and will often come close up to the boats.
4. The Aurora Australis. Also known as the Southern Lights, the Aurora is a fairly rare spectacle. Solar winds fire up natural atmospheric gases into a wild display of luminous colours, ranging anywhere from soft pinks and golds through to fiery reds, greens and blues. When the Aurora lights up the sky, you are set for an unforgettable visual feast.
5. There are literally hundreds of waterfalls in Milford Sound/ Piopiotahi. After a good rain, the mountainsides are streaked with tumbling cascades of silver, crashing into the water at the base of the highest peaks.
6. Aerial views of Mitre Peak, in any season, are outstanding. Snowcaps and waterfalls, vivid autumn colours, or fresh spring green, eternally surrounded by the blue-green waters which mirror the hugeness of the southern sky, with the sharp mountain range which Mitre Peak is part of climbing regally through the midst of the fingers of the fiord. A range of scenic flights can take you up to the heavens for the shot of a lifetime!
7. Climbing the knife’s edge. For those who enjoy a bit more challenge, climbing Mitre Peak offers some breath-taking views as the sharp ridge winds up to the summit, dropping away sharply on either side to the valleys below.
8. As part of Te Wahipounamu world heritage site, ancient cliff faces, cut out millions of years ago by the slow grinding of massive glaciers, offer a glimpse into some of the most pristine natural history in the world.
9. Dramatic mountain valleys covered in native Beech forest. The forest here is virgin bush, dating back hundreds of years. The native forests are a focal point of Aotearoa New Zealand’s celebrated reputation for pure natural beauty.
10. And finally, even if it’s raining, the remarkable views of the rolling clouds, tumultuous waters and the sheer power of nature doing her wildest dance can provide for incredible viewing.
And if these photos don’t do it for you, pack up your camera and head south to take a few of your own!