Milford Sound and Lake Marian


Today was wet. Very wet.

Sarah and I had decided we wanted to do different tours of Milford Sound, so while she slept in a bit and did a cruise, I got up at 6am for my kayaking tour. We didn’t get on the water until probably close to 8:30 or 9, because there was a lot of suiting-up and demonstrations and organizing that needed to happen first. It was cloudy and chilly and a little drizzly today, which is pretty typical of Milford, but luckily all the gear they supplied kept me warm and reasonably dry.

The tour lasted around 2-3 hours, and it was definitely cool, although not exactly what I was expecting. Our tour guide was really friendly and enthusiastic, and he’s thinking of coming to UNC for his PhD (I always get excited when I can talk about UNC with someone on the other side of the world). My favorite part of the tour was probably seeing a couple fur seals lounging on the rocks, and since we were in kayaks, we could get pretty close to them. I’ve also always liked kayaking, so that was fun.


But I was a little bummed we couldn’t go further out into the sound. I felt like we were within view of where we started almost the whole time, so I don’t think I saw that much more than I saw just walking around the foreshore yesterday. And we didn’t see any penguins or dolphins, which was disappointing. But I really can’t complain – there are far worse ways to spend a morning than kayaking around Milford Sound.

In the afternoon, Sarah and I decided to hike the Lake Marian track, even though it was raining pretty steadily when we got to the trailhead. After all, YONZO (you only New Zealand once; like YOLO, but, well…YONZO). I may have liked this trail (at least the first part) even better than the Key Summit track, despite the weather. It was steeper, so it wasn’t as enjoyable to hike in many places, but the trail was gorgeous. There were moss-covered trees and ferns everywhere, and the trail was basically a network of tree roots in some places. And the rain and the fog made it feel almost magical, like wood nymphs would start popping out of tree trunks any minute. And unlike the Key Summit hike, we barely saw any people.


We were pretty wet by the time we got to the top, and were disappointed to find heavy fog obscuring our view of the lake. It lifted a little while we were up there, but we got too cold and wet to stick around for a better view. It was still beautiful though, and we could just make out some of the many waterfalls running down the mountains and feeding into the lake.


On the way up we had been hopping from rock to rock and root to root trying to avoid getting our shoes wet, but on our way down we pretty much just barreled through every stream and squelched through every mud patch in our path.

I may or may not have gone out of my way to splash through the particularly big and splash-worthy puddles.


By the time we got to the bottom, we had been hiking for about 3 hours, and we were soaked through, cold, numb, and definitely ready to not be moving, but we were both really glad we did the hike and I definitely felt accomplished. And I’m not sure about Sarah, but I actually enjoyed the hike down a lot! Mostly because of the trees and the puddle-splashing, I think. #yonzo

We managed (with much difficulty) to peel off our wet layers once we got to the car, and we dried off with paper towels for the hour or so drive to our hostel for the night. And now I’m sitting by the fire and I’m warm and fed and dry. I have a feeling I’m going to hurt all over tomorrow, because I already sort of do, but for now, I’m really excited that we get to sleep in tomorrow.

2 Thoughts on “Milford Sound and Lake Marian

  1. I can’t…I can’t even…those pictures of the top of Key Summit were just unfair. I don’t think you can comprehend just how jealous I am of you right now. I thoroughly, THOROUGHLY refute YONZO. I plan to NZ many more times before I’m gone.


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