My husband and I enjoyed a terrific trip to New Zealand. Queenstown and Milford Sound were on our list of must see destinations. Richard had Milford Sound on his bucket list for his photography, and I am so glad we got to see it. We booked our tour with Cheeky Kiwi Travel – here is my review.
Cheeky Kiwi Travel Review
My husband did a lot of research on various tours, and there are plenty. However, after much research he booked with Cheeky Kiwi Travel. This turned out to be a great decision. Cheeky Kiwi offers a more personalized experience than many other companies. They carry smaller group sizes in their comfortable minivans compared to the larger bus tours which are the most popular options.
Although our tour guide Jorge started working at the company just a few weeks before our trip, he was quite knowledgeable. He pointed out all the local highlights along the drive to Milford Sound. He shared lots of information, answered questions and recounted several Maori legends.
The bus ride to Milford Sound was so beautiful. Along the way, we passed the Incredibles mountain range, multiple lakes, sheep, cows, greenery, and more. We took in breathtaking views of enormous snow capped mountains. Every possible shade of green played a part in nature’s canvas. Yellow green, bright green, hunter green, and even brighter greens painted the lush hills and landscape. Mama sheep and their babies dotted the landscape while lounging at local farms.
Jorge brought us to several great photo spots for 5-10 minute stops. We all captured our fair share of treasured vacation selfies and photos. Everyone on the tour was super nice, and we were all getting along great. My husband was always the first to exit the bus and the last to get back on. At one stop, while Richard was lagging behind, Jorge jokingly revved the engine and slowly started driving away. I yelled out “Bye honey, see you back in the states.” Laughter filled the bus. We had a friendly group, which made it an even more pleasant trip.
We also enjoyed a nice 30 minute stop in Te Anau. Some of us shopped, while others fed the lamas. Jorge picked up our lunches and fueled up the bus. Our tour included a boat ride into Milford Sound where a magical landscape adorned with waterfalls rises out of the water. We enjoyed our picnic lunch on the boat.
After the boat tour, the bus returns to Queenstown. Richard and I were scheduled to review the Milford Sound Lodge that evening, so we did not return with the group. Our plan was to take a flight with Air Milford back to Queenstown. We wanted to enjoy an aerial view of the majestic Fiordlands and save 4 hours getting back. Richard had made prior arrangements with Air Milford to photograph the amazing sights from the sky. He needed the shots to complete a planned photography series for an upcoming exhibit. He talked about it for weeks leading up to our trip, but he knew the odds of flying were less than 50%.
Milford Sound gets a lot of rain. That’s why there are so many waterfalls to enjoy. Unfortunately a storm came in and the flight was canceled. Since we were told upfront that this could happen, we already had our Intercity bus tickets as a backup. The morning weather was beautiful, but sadly it changed quickly. Our 45 minute flight back to Queenstown became a 5 hour bus ride…a beautiful bus ride, however. We are already planning our return trip to take the flight. Getting a bird’s eye view of this area is undoubtedly profound. Air Milford offers an array of excellent tours, so maybe something even better is in the cards for our next visit. If you are considering this trip check out Air Milford.
During our boat ride we learned more about the legends of Milford Sound/Piopiotah. It turns out that the famed attraction was not named correctly. It is technically an ice-carved fiord…not a sound.
The sheer sided valley was formed during the Ice Age by an enormous glacier. The melting of this glacier is what actually created Milford Sound/Piopiotahi. The Milford Sound is just one part of the larger Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site. In his mission to photograph this natural wonder, Richard was determined to be there at both sunset and sunrise. This is why we booked our stay at Milford Sound Lodge, and chose not to return with the Cheeky Kiwi group. CLICK HERE to read my review of the lodge.
Our tour to Milford Sound with Cheeky Kiwi was excellent. Find out more on the Cheeky Kiwi Travel website – https://www.cheekykiwitravel.com
ETG encourages you to visit New Zealand’s official tourism website – https://www.newzealand.com