Day 10 & 11 Te Anau & Milford Sound

Trip Start Dec 28, 2010
Trip End Jan 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
Willowbrook B&B

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 10  Thought about the campers in tents around us last night as the rain continued and we were warm in our very cosy studio cabin. Actually one of the better rooms and locations even though it was in a Touring Park as they call them. Killed myself laughing this morning when Barry tried to explain how he couldn't turn the TV off last night and how worried he was re it catching fire with his shirt on top so he turned it off at the wall! The photo tells a thousand words.  Headed off in sunshine determined to find the Tunnel beach walk before we headed off on our drive to Te Anau. Thought we had it right but ended up asking several locals including a bus driver- in the end I aid let's give it 5 mins and forget it- then the S1 on ramp was in front of us so we ditched the plan and 10 mins later anyway we hit a huge thunderstorm!Our journey took us through very typical south island views- mountains, green fields, sheep and cattle. Passed through lots of small towns and found another country cafe for lunch consisting of huge sandwiches made with local produce. We did think of going via Invercargill just to say we had been there but LP gave it a very bad write up and virtually said the only reason to go there would be to get supplies! Arrived in Te Anau and went on a nearly 2hr walk around the Lake, to the bird park and back to main street and of course the ice cream shop. Made up for our non walk this morning. Enjoyed some risotto we cooked in our unit and about to watch a DVD. I am fascinated with the late twilights- at 9.45 pm and still light and even when the sun goes down the sky has a soft blue haze. We are 45 degrees longitude.

Day 11
Where do I begin! The views were beyond belief! Every bend had majestic mountains, clear streams and blue lakes. This was the best day in terms of visual impact. The road into Milford Sound was fairly quiet in early am and after a few stops at viewing lookouts we arrived in time for a cuppa and a nibble. The weather was quite warm and the sky an azure blue. Off on the cruise to all the key spots on the Sound- a few waterfalls flowing, sheer cliffs rising from the blue water and seals in coves . When we approached one waterfall the captain mentioned that unless you want to get wet from the waterfall it was best to go inside. I thought, along with a few others,  that it would be just a spray but he went in so close that I was drenched- good fun just the same! 

The water in the sound is 300 feet deep and the top layer of 3- 5 metres is fresh water as it is less dense. The fresh water is full of forest resins and so at a depth of 10 m the water colour is equivalent to 70m in open sea. This makes it a popular dive site as you don't need to go so deep to see the wonders of black coral and other creatures usually found much deeper in the ocean. The cruise was smooth enough for Barry as well! 

We then had a long trek back to Te Anau for a short break and then another couple of hundred kms to Queenstown. Just in case we hadn't had our fill of scenery we had more lakes and mountain views en route. Staying at a B&B just out of Queenstown away from the hustle and bustle. This evening we went into an old gold mining town of Arrowtown for a river walk and then Thai. Quaint village and not many tourist! Apparently during the day it is very crowded. 

Walked around the property at 9.30 last night - well kept grounds with tennis courts, spa and some sheep. Very balmy night and no rain for a couple of days now.

Even though some days we drive many kms the time goes quickly thanks to magnificent scenery, a few stops and our collection of podcasts and music. Thanks TB for audio jack idea and the 'notebook' (small computer dad) has been invaluable.

Today is the adrenalin day- jet boat and white water rafting! Followed by another gondola ride to check out the Queenstown vista and of course a picnic by the famous Lake after we visit the Multicultural Market for some delicacies.
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