Fiordland makes you spoiled. After seeing Mitre Peak rising 5000 feet straight up from Milford Sound, mere mountains just don’t do it for you anymore. You see the endless 1000 foot waterfalls cascading down sheer cliffs and suddenly your backyard falls don’t quite cut the mustard. Any old river coursing through hilly terrain? Boring once you’ve seen Monkey Creek.
Dustin and I were standing in the Upper Eglington River valley, a place that by any rights should be a major tourist destination. It’s a glacial plain cut through by a crystal clear river and surrounded by snow-capped peaks on all sides. It’s a place of such beauty it hobbles the mind, rendering it incapable of saying anything intelligent, and the only words that fall from your mouth are half-formed: Grak! Whu! Plarp! This place is so pretty it doesn’t even make sense.
But in Fiordland it’s a mere blip on the map, a picnic area with a single table and one lonely outhouse. The thousands of tourists who rush through Fiordland on their way to their cruises and heli-flights never get a chance to stop and look around here. But it’s hard to blame them. I found myself succumbing to the siren song of Milford Sound. “C’mon, Dustin,” I said, “let’s get out of this boring place and go somewhere with something to see.”
(If Fiordland looks amazing to you, be sure to check out my New Zealand Photography Tour. This epic workshop spends lots of quality time in Fiordland National Park to give you incredible opportunities for photography. Check it out here.)