Facebook    YouTube 
 

| Home | Diary | Travels | Treks | Blogs |

 
 
 
 
Home > Travels > Fiordland > 7
<< Previous | Next >>

Waterfalls

Waterfalls
 
 

A LITTLE further along the coast Stirling Falls suddenly appeared. I had seen it coming along the other side of the fjord, but it had appeared very small from there. From this side it appeared huge, standing as tall as a thirty five storey building. The waterfall plunged out of the hanging valley. There was another boat at the bottom of the falls giving a good idea of the size of the falls.

Stirling Falls
Stirling Falls

The boat approached the falls. The water was tumbling down like a bridal veil so delicate down the vertical moss covered wall of rock. The water at the bottom was very deep and almost black.

The white misty water plunged off the black rocky overhangs creating a cold vapour that swept over the boat. I had to be very careful to ensure none of the fine mist would accumulate on my camera lens. The sheer height of the waterfall made the water appear it was in a suspended animation. It was a really magical place.

Stirling Falls
Stirling Falls
Stirling Falls
Stirling Falls

After a couple of minutes it was time to leave. We followed the vertical wall of rock at the base of The Lion.

Mile high cliff under Mitre Peak
Mile high cliff under Mitre Peak

Looking across to the other side of the fjord, a large three storey high boat was travelling along the base of Mitre Peak. Under the mile high cliffs it was little more than a speck. Such was the enormity of the cliff face.

Looking back the waterfall was quickly heading back in the distance. Another boat was approaching the base of the waterfall. From the top of the waterfall a long narrow ridge rose all the way to the top of The Elephant. It was a very narrow ridge. To the left it dropped vertically into the sea. To the right it dropped almost vertically into the hanging valley where the waterfall plunged from.

Under the Lion
Under the Lion

The waterfall disappeared behind a point as we continued rounding The Lion. Here a large glacier had come through during a recent ice age and carved its way into the mountain. After the glacier had retreated a massive overhang was left, only to break off and fall down several hundred years later. This would have been amazing to watch, a whole mountainside of rock to break off and drop seven hundred metres into water three or four hundred metres deep no doubt creating an enormous tsunami in the sound. The rock completely submerged so there is no sign of it now.

Vertical cliff under the lion
Vertical cliff under the lion
Harrison Sound
Harrison Sound

Fortunately the cliff was safe now.

I could see the huge scar where the rock had broken off. It was a good two hundred metres high and half a kilometre wide. If it had been about two hundred metres out from the wall then it would have weighed some twenty five million tonnes. That’s a potential energy of 200 Terajoules.

Looking back towards Milford
Looking back towards Milford

The sheltered water below the cliff was a deep turquoise colour.

From The Lion we continued heading along the side of the huge cliff back towards the port.

There came a point about a kilometre past the main cliff of The Lion where we suddenly reached a point where Harrison Cove appeared out of nowhere. A flat blunt forested headland. On the far side of the cove a massive wall of rock towered a good kilometre high. It had the vertical scars of where waterfalls had come down following the natural stratification of the rock.

Returning to the village
Returning to the village

A large glaciated peak stood at the back of Harrison Cove. A small glacier dropped down the side of the mountain to low levels almost into the flat forested valley that stretched almost to the point we had just passed. The captain said there was an underwater research station here, mainly to research the black coral.

Black coral generally grows in very deep water, but due to the unique features of Milford Sound with the water being so dark, it grows in shallow water here.

Lady Bowen Falls
Lady Bowen Falls

As we ventured further from the point back towards the port, The Lion began to take shape, with its rounded dome and vertical sides dropping in either direction. I could now see a distinctive U shape over what would have once been a hanging valley down the main fjord. This could have been from the old ice ages that did most of the carving. It was the more recent ice ages where the ice wouldn’t have been so thick that created the current bottom cliffs cutting through the bottom of the U valley and carving below the sea. The terminal moraine in these glaciers would have been deposited over the fault line into the very deep waters beneath.

The port
The port

Then the huge protruding Lady Bowen Falls appeared, running down a large scar in the rock that would have been cleared by massive floods that often happen here. Beyond that the port appeared with its collection of small buildings – the first sign of civilisation we had seen on the cruise.

The boat docked and our Maori tour leader collected us to take us back to our bus.

View all photos...

<< Previous | Next >>
 

 

 

About this Page

Date:

 

Location: Country:

 

Latitude: Longitude: Altitude:

15 February 2008

 

Milford Sound

New Zealand

 

44°38'S
167°52'E
Sea Level

 

Google Maps Link

 

 

 

Jeff

Where is Walkabout Jeff?

 

 

 

Jeff

What is happening in Walkabout Jeff's hometown?

 

 

 

Jeff

Who is Walkabout Jeff?

Any normal person's idea of going out involves going to the local pub for a drink with a few mates. Walkabout Jeff isn't normal.

 

Read more...

 

 

 

Follow Walkabout Jeff

Facebook    YouTube

 

 
 
 

| Home | Diary | Travels | Treks | Blogs |

 
© 2001-2019 walkaboutjeff.com - Copyright - Disclaimer - Who is Walkabout Jeff?