The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound (commonly known as “The Milford Road”) travels through the Eglinton Valley, a glaciated valley with steep sides and a flat tussock covered floor. This picturesque valley is constantly being changed by the Eglinton River and is one of the few valleys in Fiordland to have road access. Because Fiordland is one of the wettest areas in New Zealand, vistas from the valley floor often include clouds draped over the mountain peaks with fingers of mist stretching to reach the river and tussock below. During the summer this area is very popular with hikers and campers.
Parking bays the sides of the road through the valley allow motorists and coach-loads of tourists to stop to admire the view. During the height of the tourist season fleets of tour coaches travel over the Milford Road and through the Homer Tunnel every morning to deliver their passengers to Milford Sound where they join the procession of cruise boats to view the spectacle of towering mountain peaks rising steeply out of the waters of the sound. In the afternoon they return to Te Anau, Queenstown and Invercargill.
At the head of the Eglinton Valley, before the Milford Road passes the end of the Routeburn Track at The Divide and goes on to the Homer Tunnel, are the Mirror Lakes. The roadside parking area is full of tour coaches in the mornings where travelers are given ten minutes to take their photographs from viewing platforms along the short boardwalk beside the lakes. Our view was taken between rain showers and illustrates the mood of the mountains that were cloaked in cloud.