Cruise giant breaks record in spectacular fashion

One of the biggest cruise ships in the world, the Queen Mary 2, has made a spectacular visit to New Zealand's Milford Sound in the World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park.

Measuring 345 metres long and reaching 62 metres above the water, the 151,400-tonne liner is the largest ship to enter the pristine wilderness, where there are dramatic mountains, dominated by Mitre Peak, soaring cliffs and waterfalls tumbling to the sea.

Sydney photographer James Morgan was there for the ship's grand entrance last weekend.

"It was an epic shoot," he said. "We were on tenterhooks because the weather was coming in and we weren't sure if we'd be able to go up in a helicopter and take the photos.

"Remarkably, we got the go ahead and for five to 10 minutes we even had sunshine that lit her up. I have hung out of helicopters all over the world for various assignments, but I've got to say when she came around the corner into the Sound it was one of the most magnificent sightsI have seen. She is a massive ship but was totally dwarfed by the massive cavern that is Milford Sound."

The Sound is one of New Zealand's main tourist attractions and a popular destination for cruise ships. But whether they make it in often depends on the erratic weather in the wild area that has been featured in the Lord of the Rings films.

The Cunard flagship, with 2500 passengers on board, visited the Sound as part of 12-day journey around New Zealand that ends with its return to Sydney on Tuesday.

Photos: Queen Mary 2's record-breaking Milford Sound visit