If you've been there, you'll know it's practically indescribable.
There's something magical about Milford Sound, but even more magical about travelling to an uncrowded Milford Sound.
In this week's episode of the Trip Notes podcast, Travel Editor Stephanie Holmes and I speak with award-winning writer and actor Michelle Langstone about her experience in Fiordland, and why New Zealanders need to make the most of the lack of international tourists for this destination hot spot.
The episode was inspired by Michelle's piece 'Sounds of Silence' published in the NZ Herald Travel magazine May 11.
"I came back to Milford Sound because I couldn't get the shape of the landscape out of my head; those glacier-carved mountains plunging toward deep green water, the lichen and moss hugging the faces of giants who seemed to lean in and admire their faces in the deep stillness," she writes in the article.
"Everywhere I gazed looked like a painting, and I felt incredibly grateful to be one of a small number sleeping out there overnight, treated to such a splendid morning. It's a truly special experience and one that in many ways defies description. Fiordland is the most beautiful place I have set eyes on in our country; it is ancient, powerful and serene, and I was happy to feel small and insignificant in the face of it."
Prior to this trip, Michelle had last visited Fiordland on a family holiday at the age of 14.
"My memory of it was how crowded it was, but how beautiful it was, and I was always in two minds," Michelle tells us in the episode.
"Having the opportunity to go down there, knowing there were no tourists, driving into those car parks in the Milford Sound and not a single car, was really staggering. I was so excited to go back there. I would live there if I could in a small bush hut, with a fire. It's so extraordinary, that part of the world."
The Times Like These writer describes Fiordland's beauty as staggering. She recommends travellers visit during the winter months to experience the raw beauty of the ancient area.
"Fiordland is itself in the wet. The saturation of green and the trees, plants and mosses - those incredible moses running down the cliff faces - it's just so verdantly alive. It's astonishing and yet it's freezing and you're wearing hats and mittens, but it's exhilarating. And I feel like that is its true form, in the rain and the mist that hugs the tops of the glaciers."
In the episode, we also chat about Michelle's life growing up on and around boats, and our favourite boating and cruising holidays around New Zealand and the rest of the world.
Despite a few near-drownings as a child, Michelle still feels at home on a boat.
"I still think if something goes wrong, you're safer out there than you are on land. I'm not afraid of the sea and I'm not afraid of bad weather. From a design perspective, boats belong in bad weather; they're made to endure that."
To listen, tune in on iHeartRadio or hit play on the podcast player above.
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Michelle Langstone stars in the news season of One Lane Bridge, premiering Sunday 15 August on TVNZ.