After arriving at the Milford Sound Lodge, we settled into our room. The thing about Milford Sound is that it is relatively untouched. The only buildings that I saw while I was there were the buildings attached to the lodge, the ferry terminal and the airport buildings (which realistically looked more like small shacks than anything else). The remainder of this part of the fjord land is just nature and Mother Earth. The lodge is a great place to stay because it is one of the few locations that you can stay within the actual fjord land that puts you right in the center of everything. Most of the other locations are only campsites and if you’re looking for buildings to stay at, you have to be further out. The Lodge has private chalets, private rooms, backpacker dorms and campsites. Realistically, the amount of rooms that it actually had available looked to be around 20-30 rooms total and the rest were campsites.
We actually were planning on camping here because when we were still in Seattle, campsites were the only sleeping locations that were available. Luckily (and take note) we emailed them asking if there were any cancellations that maybe had not been updated on the website. We ended up getting put in a backpacker dorm with two other girls for the one night we had in Milford Sound.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of hostels, partially because I never really sleep while I’m there but that being said, you always end up meeting great people. We walked into our room, started planning the remainder of our stay and our roommates walked in. We were bunking with two French girls who had just spent the last two months backpack in Australia. It was their gap year and they were just seeing the world. After spending a few weeks in New Zealand, they would go their separate ways – one back to France and the other back to Australia where she was hoping to find a job. It was a talking to these girls and listening to their adventures. If you ever want to feel inspired, talk to backpackers. They had great stories to share about meeting penguins, getting sunburned and traveling around Australia by bus. Plus we learned some great packing tips from them since they were spending a few months living out of a hiking backpack. They were probably three to four years younger than me and I’m 100% I learned more from them than they would have ever learned from me.
After resting for a bit, we decided that we would go wander the area around the lodge for a bit. The Lodge actually has a shuttle that will take you to the ferry terminal and the airport so we caught the shuttle to the furthest it would take us at the ferry terminal and began wandering back to the Lodge. It is probably about a mile and a half walk from the terminal to the lodge and most of it is off the road. If you choose to walk along the road, be very careful because there really is no shoulder. There’s a great nature reserve by the ferry terminal that we were able to walk around and check out. And it happened to be low tide when we showed up and walked out into the water and stood looking out into the actual Milford Sound. It was one of the most breathtaking things I have ever experienced (or thought I would ever experience). We continued our walk and enjoyed the scenery, read the signs along the road that talked about the various plants and what the seasons are like there and eventually ended up back at the Lodge.
We decided on our walk that we wanted to take full advantage of our time in Milford Sound so we decided to book a helicopter ride around the sound. The great thing about this lodge is that it helps you book all the activities you could ever want. If you’re not sure you want to hike, there are so many things you can do like dinner cruises around the sound, you can go kayaking, take airplane rides, helicopter rides, three day long hikes, and everything in between. The front desk will help you coordinate it all. So we booked our helicopter ride for the next day and settled down at a table for dinner.
Since there really isn’t much in the area, you’re forced to eat at the restaurant unless you brought food into the fjord land. We ended up eating the restaurant food and I was not disappointed. As we sat down, I took a look at the menu and decided up on a goat curry and a ginger beer because hey, it sounded delicious. While we were waiting for our food, we noticed another female sitting by herself and we invited her to come sit with us. She accepted and we ended up spending a few hours with her eating and chatting. She’s from Wales, UK and told us all about her adventures of traveling by herself through New Zealand in a camper van. I have to say I was very impressed by her and I’m glad we got to meet her.
After dinner, we headed back to our room, made our plan of attack for the next day and got ready for bed. We had a long day ahead of us.