Milford = Magical. I had to use a thesaurus to find new words after saying “amazing, beautiful, and wow” on repeat. When we decided to book a trip across the ocean to New Zealand, I think was the most excited I’d been since landing in Australia. Everyone told us we “had” to go, it wasn’t an option… I’m glad we listened. We landed in Christchurch on a Saturday night, rented and a car and hit the road to tackle the first 4 hours of our weeklong road trip. Early the next morning we set out for Milford Sound, another 4 hours drive southwest with a handful of scenic view stops along the way. It’s a weird thing to drive on the other side of the car, and the other side of the road – even weirder on those windy mountainous roads with huge ass tour busses coming at ya head on! Our Hyaundi Getz (think mini cooper but cheap) took the turns like a champ. Getting into Milford Sound, there was really only 2 places to stay, 2 places to eat, no wifi, and no cell service – the perfect recipe for some simple peace to enjoy God’s creation. We took a walk along the river, grabbed dinner, played cribbage over a couple cocktails and wine, and then caught a stunning sunset over the sound.
The next morning we enjoyed a chilly cruise on the sound out to the Tasman Sea with a couple dozen other tourists. I wore every long sleeve shirt I packed and was still frozen… first time I’ve been that cold since I left home! We gawked at waterfalls, awed at seals playing on the rocks, and thanked our stars we took the boat instead of the kayak tour…brrrrr!
On our way out of Milford, we stopped for a hike off the Routeburn track called Key Summit and trekked up to the top for 360 degree views of the extroidinary national park. Pulling out of the parking lot, I made eye contact with a beautiful gal looking for a ride to Te Anu (about 1.5 hours away but exactly where we were headed) and after getting the nod from Anne, we told her and her boyfriend to hop on in!! Emelia and Diego, both from Equador, were super interesting (I think all hitchhikers must be)… full of experiences and stories to fill the time. Looking back on this memory I don’t know what is crazier – the fact that we picked up hitchhikers, that 4 adults and 4 backpacks fit into our tiny little rental car, or that now I have a strong desire to go explore to South America.