The Homer Tunnel

There’s a tunnel in New Zealand which is 1.2 km long and connects Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown.

It goes straight through a mountain and took 19-years to dig. Much of it began by hand.

Opening of the tunnel was delayed by World War II and several avalanches in the area which resulted in multiple men losing their lives.

Workers had to camp out in tents on the edge of the tunnel during construction. The camp areas were known not to receive sunlight for months at a time.

Inside the tunnel was cold, wet and dark. Up to 40,000 litres of water had to pumped out every hour.

In 1953, The Homer Tunnel was officially opened and named after the man who suggested the tunnel was possible, William H. Homer.

I went through the tunnel a few months ago. I’ve thought about it since. 19-years of digging through solid rock. Interrupted by a World War and avalanches.

Every time I think I’m pushing through something or get annoyed at being interrupted from my work, I remind myself of The Homer Tunnel.

Experience is relative but I know for sure, I’d rather be here working on what I’m working on than digging through solid rock with a pickaxe whilst a World War is going on.

At the end of the tunnel is one of the most beautiful jewels in the world. Milford Sound. It’s in the Fiordland region. A region in which a glacier carved its way through the mountains centuries ago but has since melted. What’s left is a collection of vast and nearly vertical cliff faces rising out of beautiful lakes.

The area is as beautiful as it is remote. One man fell so in love, he decided to live there on his own. Well, at least he was the only human, he brought his dog along too. Donald Sutherland originally came from the Scottish highlands but decided to travel the world and ended up calling Milford Sound home. His story is worth reading about.

After being there, I’m not sure which impressed me more. The tunnel or the cliff faces.

Nature is beautiful.

The beginning of Milford Sound from the top deck of a tour boat.

The beginning of Milford Sound from the top deck of a tour boat.

But so is hard work.

The beginning of The Homer Tunnel. Look at the surroundings of the opening. Imagine if someone said to you, “I think we can dig through here.” What would you say?

The beginning of The Homer Tunnel. Look at the surroundings of the opening. Imagine if someone said to you, “I think we can dig through here.” What would you say?