A cruise to the South Is­land is noth­ing short of a sen­sory over­load

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DESTINATION | NEW ZEALAND - PETER HALL

’Surely we are in Nor­way,” a pas­sen­ger ex­claims as our cruise ship glides be­tween tow­er­ing cliffs carved by glaciers dur­ing the Ice Age. The breath­tak­ing vi­sion of fjords at New Zealand’s ma­jes­tic Mil­ford Sound is not the only sur­prise.

It’s the height of sum­mer and the tem­per­a­ture is 4C, but it feels closer to freez­ing due to the brac­ing breeze. A Euro­pean vis­i­tor is stand­ing tanned and re­laxed in khaki shorts, loafers with no socks and a short-sleeved shirt. His wife is wear­ing even less.

I’m not sure how they are able to speak with­out chat­ter­ing teeth. I’m al­most hy­pother­mic, de­spite be­ing co­cooned in a lu­di­crously ex­pen­sive jacket bor­rowed from my el­der son, who said it was crit­i­cal to him sur­viv­ing a school camp at Mt Bar­ney near the NSW-Queens­land bor­der.

The Euro­pean ice­man and his ice queen reach for a steam­ing bev­er­age of­fered by a crew mem­ber. It’s real hot choco­late, seem­ingly re­duced from the rich­est choco­late bar on the planet and forged into su­gar lava.

We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sen­sory over­load aboard the bou­tique ship Aza­mara Jour­ney dur­ing its maiden sea­son to Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

All hands are on deck to see the Sound, which tech­ni­cally is not a sound – a wide in­let from the sea – but a deep, nar­row wa­ter­way framed by soar­ing al­most ver­ti­cal cliffs.

As our im­per­vi­ous-to-cold north­ern hemi­sphere friend pointed out, this makes it a fjord.

The scene is so beau­ti­ful, Rud­yard Ki­pling re­ferred to Mil­ford Sound as

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