Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Wednesday 26th-Sunday 30th October: Queenstown, Milford Sound & Wanaka

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Wednesday – a long driving day, Franz Josef to Queenstown – was inevitably sunny again. Beautiful journey, even if the brakes and steering did start to go on the van on the hairpin bends.

This is the stunning view down to Queenstown. We knew it is famous for crazy extreme sports, people throwing themselves off, down and out of things, but we really weren’t prepared for the quite astonishing alpine scenery.

It is an incredibly beautiful place, a  bit like the Italian lakes but 10x more spectacular.

Stunningly clear water with snowy mountains in the background. And Randall.

In the evening we drove to Arrowtown to see a film (The Guard, a very good film as it turned out, but somewhat secondary to the cinema itself!) at Dorothy Browns, a tiny independent cinema with beautiful decor that serves cheese and wine:

Go here! It’s brilliant!

Thursday was a boring work day, then Friday was a real treat: we’d decided to fly to Milford Sound instead of driving the 4.5 hours each way trip, so at 9am we were collected from our camp site and driven to the airport where we met Captain Teri Muirhead who flew us to Milford Sound in this tiny six seater Piper Cherokee Six:

WOW! Having thought of it mainly as an idea for saving time on the journey, we realised JUST how spectacular the landscape was as we flew over and through snow-capped mountains and along lakes and rivers:

It’s quite hard to get the perspective from the photos because EVERYTHING is so huge, but on that bottom right one, the little white speck on the sound is a 3 storey cruise boat.

These videos give a slightly better idea of what the flight was like (the second is turbulent in parts!):

And this one:

The cruise on Milford Sound itself was also beautiful, and our tickets included a buffet lunch which slightly bizarrely was served immediately on boarding. At 11.15 am. Oh well, it’s Lord of the Rings country so nothing wrong with second breakfast, I suppose.

Once again, the little white speck on the first picture is a 3 storey tour boat.

We spotted some fur seals snoozing and generally chilling out like aquatic cats:

They warned us that the boat went ‘quite close’ to this waterfall. That would be *under* the waterfall then. I took that last pic and dived for the doors, but Randall stayed out for the whole thing and got completely soaked from head to toe.

Fjordland Crested Penguin. Apparently very rare.

On the flight back we flew along part of the Milford Track, a famous 5 day walking track that ends at the Sound. I was impressed (nod to Lewis père) that she said ‘we don’t fly over this bit, because if you’ve been walking through beautiful countryside for 5 days to get to the Sound, the last thing you want is to hear planes buzzing over it’. True, that.

After a swim at the local pool in the afternoon it was fish and chips while sitting watching the lake (or hot dog and chips in Randall’s case):

Hot dog NZ stylee. Ew.

then a work call, followed by a pint in the Pub on the Waterfront, then bed.

Saturday was motorbike time for Randall:

Then lunch in the fantastic Bob’s Weigh cafe, and off to Wanaka for a night.

Randall was so fed up with sleeping in the camper van at this point that we ‘upgraded’ to a ‘cabin’ (double bed, bunk beds, small table & chairs) which turned out to be this charming pink colour:

At least we had time to do laundry and charge all our electrical items before heading out to the main reason for coming to Wanaka, the

Cinema Paradiso“:

Wine, food, CAKE!! And comfy sofas, beanbags and an old Morris Minor for that authentic ‘at the drive in’ experience.

The next morning I had a lovely swim at Wanaka Community Pool before we started the drive to Lake Tekapo, passing through the charmingly named ‘Twizel’ on the way.

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Written by helenbcn

October 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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