The Deep South

Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finally it was time to head to the very south of New Zealand. So we jumped on a new bus, and made our way down to the bottom of the island. Our first stop was Bluff, to see the most southernly point in New Zealand. To mark it was one of those yellow signpost thingys that they seem to be so fond of. Then we went to another spot which I can't remember the name of (I'm really sorry, I need to start writing them down!), where we walked up this staircase to look out over the bay. There was this cool map of all the surrounding islands, with their Maori names translated into English. There were some interesting names there! We also saw a ship graveyard which was pretty cool, and went onto the beach for a run around. 

Then we dropped the Stewart Island passengers off at their ferry, and went to Invercargill for the night. Not my favourite place in New Zealand. It was a big town, nothing very nice there, and all the people seemed to be a little bit strange, I can't really explain it! So we spent the night there, and tried to recover from Queenstown a little bit. I was so tired (due to lack of sleep and too much drinking) that I kept falling asleep on the bus, and missing all the nice scenery! So it was good to get a decent night's sleep.

The next morning we went through some truly beautiful surroundings on our way to our overnight stop near Milford Sounds. We stopped at this place called Monkey Island. A beach with a tiny island just out to see that you can swim/walk to. A unique little stop. The tide was quite low, and although no-one else wanted to get to the island, I decided to try to wade across, as the sea wasn't very rough or deep. I didn't have my swimming costume on, just my shorts. It was ok at first, but then the water started getting deeper, and when it started getting waist deep I had to turn back, so I didn't get all my clothes soaking wet. At least I tried! 

 Then we stopped at this beautiful lake for lunch, where we had a BBQ using New Zealand's best sausages apparently! New Zealand are basically rubbish at making sausages, and the ones in the supermarket are like horrible frankfurters, but worse. They're 'pork flavoured sausages', or 'chicken/beef/lamb flavoured sausages'. Gross! They're nothing like proper English ones! But the ones we had at the lake were from this butchers which make the best ones in New Zealand. They were pretty nice, but they were just like average English sausages. They need to sort their sausages out! 

 Last stop was another Mirror Lake. Pretty self explanatory! Finally we got to Gunn's Camp, our accomodation for the night. It's the old camp that the road workers used to stay in. A really cute little place with cabins and funny quirky things dotted around. It even had it's own tiny museum! Once we had unpacked, we went for a little walk through the bush. We found this giant hollow tree, which you could climb up into, and look out the top! That was really cool. Then it was back to the Camp for a dinner of nachos and chilli, mmmm. We all sat together by the fire that evening, playing some hilarious games together. Our driver Chicken got out his fire staff, basically a long stick, with both ends on fire. It was really cool to watch him spin it around. Then I stupidly had a go. Not a good idea! But I was ok the first time, just span it around a bit. But the second time I was playing with it, one end went out, and I was trying to put the other end out, when I hit myself in the face! Luckily with the end that wasn't on fire! I had soot all over my face, and at first it looked like I had escaped without any damage. But soon a burn started to emerge, and soon I had a big red mark across my jaw. Ouch. But my friend Christian's a doctor so he checked it out for me and gave me some special antiseptic stuff for it. No more playing with the fire staff after that! So we spent the rest of the evening talking in front of the fire and having a sing along with a guitar. My friend Montse even improvised a song about us all, which was hilarious and had everyone in fits of laughter. 

The next day it was another early start, as we had to drive to Milford Sound for our cruise. Unfortunately, when we woke up, it was grey, misty and wet. Not good Milford Sound weather. But the drive there was still lovely. Everywhere you looked there were waterfalls cascading down the mountains. Funnily enough, Milford Sound isn't actually a sound, as it wasn't carved out by a river. It's actually a fjord, because it was created by a glacier carving its way through the landscape! We got to the Sound (or should that be fjord?), and boarded our ferry (where we took full advantage of the free tea and coffee! I must have had about 8 cups!). Luckily the rain had stopped, but it was very cloudy and cold! Not the best weather. We cruised through the Sounds for about 2 hours, seeing all these huge cliff faces, with waterfalls crashing down everywhere. There were seals playing around the base of the cliffs, very cute. It's truly an amazing place, very awe-inspiring. We could still appreciate its beauty, in spite of the clouds. I just wish the weather had been better, and it would have been even more beautiful! So no good photos really, as my camera didn't like the bright clouds and dark cliffs. 

Then we started to make our way back to Queenstown, but we had one more stop on the way. We went to a place called 'The Chasm'. An amazing natural feature, where the river has created holes in the rock, from the water swirling around, and making the holes bigger and bigger over time. We were also very lucky, as there were a few Kea hanging around the car park. Kea are large parrots, and very clever. They're very handsome birds, so it was a treat to get up close to them. They were listening intently to everything we were saying.

On the drive back, we did a quiz in the bus, on things our drivers had told us so far on our trip. I won of course, with 11/12, and got a t-shirt as a prize! Woo! Free clothes! So that was a fun end. Then it was back to Qtown, where the partying started again! But just for one more night, before everyone headed off to Mount Cook. I decided to stay in Queenstown a couple of extra nights, as I had some time leftover to explore a little more.  
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