Published: January 9th 2010January 9th 2010
After bungee jumping on New Years Day, we stuck around Queenstown for another couple of days to take in some more of the what seems like endless tourist activities. We did a hike to the top of a mountain for some downhill luging, and we also caught a movie in one of the theatres here in town - Sherlock Holmes. Not exactly my cup of tea but not a bad way to spend two hours, all in all.
Our campsite in Queenstown was set in a valley surrounded by mountains, and right beside a small lake. You had to follow a narrow dirt road to get to it, and over the span of the four nights we stayed there, we saw TWO motorhomes flipped over on their sides off of the road. They were obviously just trying to move over to let another car pass them and then ended up tipped over in a ditch. Brutal.
After Queenstown, we spent a couple nights in the town of Alexandra which unfortunately did not have much to offer. We played a little tennis and planned the next couple of weeks of travelling, but it's not exactly what I would call a
premiere vacation destination.
We decided to travel to Milford Sound, a mountainous region on the West Coast of the South Island and widely regarded as the most beautiful part of New Zealand. It only takes a few minutes once you arrive to figure out why.
We did a 2 hour cruise through the area in a large catamaran boat with about 30 other tourists, on an afternoon that was uncharacteristacally quite nice. They get seven to nine metres of rain per year in the area, and the forecast for the day after our cruise (the day we were originally supposed to do it on) was calling for 265 mm of rain in a 20 hour period.
About five minutes into our cruise, two dolphins popped out of the water and began swimming beside our boat for a few minutes. That set the tone for some of the most remarkable scenery I have ever seen over the next couple of hours. The Mitre Peak, New Zealand's second largest mountain is directly to the left of the cruise on the way out, and the number of waterfalls spilling down from the melting snow and glaciers would easily exceed a
Chew away, it's a rental!
This bird is a jerk by the way.
thousand. All in all, it was an incredible part of the world and completely unique - rainforests down by the water being looked down upon by snow covered peaks.
We spent last night in a campsite in the Fiordland Park (which leads into Milford Sound), which was beatiful as well. I had a small run-in with a wild parrot that got a little grumpy with me, but I'm happy to report that I still have all my fingers and vision in both of my eyes. The only downside to all of this is that the weather is more like Fall in Nova Scotia than the summer temperatures we had gotten used to.
The next destination is Mount Cook - NZ's largest mountain and home to it's biggest glaciers as well, and then some more stops around the South Island over the next couple of weeks. That should take us close to the end of the Janaury which will mark the end of my visit here, so the focus is mainly on enjoying these next couple of weeks while I can.
Until next time...
There are more photos below