This UK media author gave this added background on Milford Sound: "Two years ago, I made the pilgrimage to Milford Sound, taking the long way round from Queenstown. The views – the steep flanks of the fjord rearing towards the clouds, their craggy grandeur reflected in the water – made the hours behind the wheel entirely worthwhile. As I drove north, I endured slow progress behind the endless tour buses that were clogging Highway 94. The same army of vehicles was there as I meandered south. They are too big and too cumbersome for the road. But they are an unavoidable product of the beauty of Milford Sound, a place people are desperate to visit. The New Zealand government’s refusal to sanction the construction will not alleviate the pressure that is placed on Fiordland National Park by the wheels that regularly rumble through it. There are many similar cases – sites of colossal historic or cultural importance that are creaking under the weight of our ravenous interest in then. Machu Picchu was designed as a small Inca citadel on a lonely Andean mountain top, but received over one million visitors in 2011. Milford Sound receives some 500,000 visitors a year – the vast majority arriving via a road that is scarcely suitable. When Captain Cook first espied Milford Sound in 1769 while sailing down the coast of the South Island, he saw it in such isolation that he dared not enter from the sea for fear that he would not be able to escape again."
From the Dominion Post newspaper in NZ, they have this headline: "Opponents cheer tunnel decision" with these highlights: "There was jubilation in the south yesterday as a controversial plan to drill a tunnel to cut travel time to Milford Sound was rejected by Conservation Minister Nick Smith. Southland Conservation Board chairwoman and Te Anau resident Viv Shaw said the board was delighted and it appeared the decision was based on the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks Management Plans. Dr Smith said the $180 million plan to build a route through the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring national parks, halving the travel time for the 420,000 visitors to Milford Sound each year, was beyond what was appropriate for a World Heritage Area and ran counter to the intent of the National Parks Act."
Our plans for January 2014 include not only visiting Milford Sound on the Celebrity Solstice, but we will be getting off of the ship and taking that longer route around the mountains and lakes to reach Queenstown in doing an overnight stay in this lakefront city. It will be interesting to see this full area in person. Sounds very dramatic and scenic!! Good background on this area from these stories today.
Full stories at:
THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio
Did a June 7-19, 2011, Celebrity Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 135,879 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
From the above London newspaper story, here is their map that shows the long and curved current routing around from Milford Sound to Queenstown. The straighter "short-cut tunnel" would be straighter and quicker. But at what price?: