camping in Milford Sound

Milford Sound is one of those places in New Zealand that many add to their bucket list itinerary, but few actually make it to. it is - in a word - remote. one road in, one road out. frequent closures due to weather. and absolutely ZERO cell service.

but we knew we had to go.

I was responsible for finding and booking our sites for the camping portions of our trip. a quick search revealed that there was only one choice for camping in the sound: the Milford Lodge. it sounded perfect. we could camp right in the sound, a 15 minute walk from the docks where our morning cruise would depart from. the website description said "pitch your tent in secluded sites hidden away in the temperate rainforest." that sounds pretty amazing, right?

since Milford Sound is so remote, they have to run off satellite internet. tent sites were only available for reservation by email and not their online booking system, and my emails kept getting bounced back with a notice they were having technical issues. after about a week of panicking that they would be fully booked and we would have no place to stay [or have to drive in from one of the camp options closer to Te Anau] it was finally resolved.

thinking about trying to make the booking now, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. but at the time I was just stressed out enough over all the planing we had been doing to make this trip happen that I had an EPIC MELTDOWN. once I was able to hear the voice of reason [aka, Husband] he reminded me that even if this campsite didn't work out there were still other options. and that we were going to New Zealand, for goodness sake. New Zealand! and of course things would not all go according to plan, but I should get over it and enjoy myself anyway because... we were going to New Zealand.

whenever I look at these pictures, I have to laugh.

"secluded sites hidden in the forest" is apparently code for "your tent site will have an 8 foot radius of space filled with trees between you and the tent sites on your left and right, the camper van hookups behind you, and the parking lot in front." but we laughed, and we got over it.

the sites were also barely big enough for our 2 person tent - one little hill of sand with a flat top surrounded by rocks and logs. but Husband pulled some ninja tent moves and gave us a secure [if unconventional] setup, and we got over that too.

it really wasn't that bad. honestly - the mound of sand kept our tent from being in a puddle the night it downpoured. and the cover from the nearby trees [and camper vans] kept the wind from breaking any more of our tent poles.

side note about camping in New Zealand: there are every level of facilities available. certain members of our group requested flushing toilets and hot showers, so we opted for the less rugged "holiday park" type locations. usually these offered tent sites and camper van hookups, but also small cabins and/or a backpacker lodge. Milford Lodge is one such place. we had access to restrooms and showers, a communal kitchen and coin laundry, a cafe that served a mean breakfast, and a lounge area with internet. we were in NO WAY "roughing it." especially considering the 2 minute walk across the parking lot to all the facilities.

was it annoying that I could hear the guy two tents over snoring? yes, but we got over it.

because when a short walk down the road leads you to this view - when you are in New Zealand and staying in Milford Freaking Sound? you get the heck over it and enjoy yourself.

until, of course, your Husband snaps this photo and takes your camera away. because he's afraid it might meld with your face and he wants to spend time grabbing a beer/cider with you. so you get over that too and go have a drink. because, obviously, New Zealand.

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