Driving from Te Anau to Milford Sound is the most stunning journey, through forests, past waterfalls and along the edge of soaring mountain peaks.
Our destination was a boat called the Milford Mariner for a night on the spectacular New Zealand fiord.
After a day of gorgeous weather, the rain arrived just as we were boarding the boat, but we were still thrilled to cruise through the downpour, spotting pods of dolphins and watching seals laze on rocky outcrops.
While some of the more adventurous passengers on the Milford Mariner went kayaking in the drizzle, we sipped a glass of wine and admired the view from the warmth of the dining room.
It absolutely gouted down with rain throughout the night and the next morning – the weather was so intense that the road to Milford Sound was closed for a few hours due to rock falls.
But the Milford Mariner powered through the Sound and made a brief foray into the Tasman Sea before returning to port alongside soaring cliffs covered with hundreds of dramatically cascading waterfalls.
It wasn’t the experience we were expecting, but it was magnificent nonetheless and we were thrilled to be there despite the drenching.
We spent most of the trip back to shore in the warmth of the bridge, which gave us a great view of the surrounds, together with an entertaining commentary over the radio system between the captains of the other boats out in the extreme elements.
Our captain told us he once took a group out overnight that got stranded onboard the boat for days because the roads were so badly effected. Luckily the chef always keeps a well stocked larder.
Ginger loved listening to the loud speaker commentary by the aptly named environmental officer Forest, who sounded a lot like her teen crush, Neil Finn.
We’re keen to return and cruise the more remote Doubtful Sound next time … and hopefully strike better weather.
Cruises on the Milford Mariner can be booked on the Real Journeys website.