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Published: November 1st 2007
Well alas we did not make it to Milford Sound. The weather beat us again! It had been raining all night in Queenstown which meant it was snowing near Milford! Of course we didn't know that the trip was impossible until after we had got up nice and early and were picked up by our bus at 7:15am! But 20 minutes out of Queenstown the driver was informed the road had been shut because of heavy snow and avalanche risk.
On the upside that left us with $155 back in our pockets! We ended up watching France vs Argentina which cheered Bruce up seeing the French get dumped to 4th place! We decided that Arrowtown would make a nice stop for the day and headed there. It is a really historic town as a lot of gold was found here in the mid 1800s. A big population of the miners were Chinese immigrants so there is a old village preserved here which remembers the villagers from that period. We also had a lovely meal out in Queenstown that night, sampling the local fish Blue Cod which was yummy! So not a bad day after all!
We left Queenstown on
the Sunday to make our way back to Picton making a few night stops along the way. We wanted to go back a different way so a lot of driving was inevitable. Luckily Ernie (our car) and Bruce were up for it and did not moan at all (sense the sarcasm!) We headed to Mt Cook first where we were planning to stay but it was majorly foggy and windy and wet and we couldn't even see Mount Cook so guess what we resisted the temptation to pitch our tent!! We drove a bit further to Lake Tekapo where we stayed a night and it actually turned out to be a lovely wee place (though the windiest place ever - worse than Balfour St!). There was a lovely little church by the sea called The Church of the Good Shepherd and a statue of a collie dog nearby to pay recognition to all the invaluable work the dogs do for farmers.....it was sweet!
I (Bruce) have not driven that much in terms of mileage but I have not had many days where I have not driven here and it has been tiring as my co-pilot is pretty good for
the most part but seems to go under a spell of sleepy dust from the car fairy once we start moving and then I amleft with my Ipod and the scenery. I think we covered just about 4000k in our time we had "Ernie" he never moaned or complained and was a great partner on the road eating up the tarmac everyday!
Our next night was in a place called Hamner Springs. It has lovely thermal pools which was a welcome treat after spending most of the day in the car (it's hard work being a passenger too!) We did brave it and pitched our tent here as well but after another wet and extremely windy night we decided that we had had enough camping for the moment!! We spent a couple of nights in Nelson - nice wee city where we walked to the centre of NZ and kinda didn't do a lot else! We stayed at a hostel called Shortbread Cottage because the Lonely Planet said they baked shortbread everyday, but lo and behold we didn't see or smell any shortbread during our stay!
We decided to get the ferry back the next day so that
we would have an extra day with Susan over the weekend. We stopped for a night in Wellington so that we could go to Te Papa museum - biggest museum in NZ and it had really great exhibits......including a special one about Scots in NZ. Mhairi wanted to go to the cathedral but unfortunately when we got there it was holding a funeral so a tour was kind of off the cards. Then we went to go on the cable car and it was closed for repairs!! Something was telling us to get out of Wellington! We surprised Susan on Friday night with our early arrival and had a lovely weekend with her. Most of it spent shopping for bits and bobs for her new place.
We arrived in Auckland yesterday having travelled north seeing a bit of the coast. Gisborne was a good place to stop - again a lot of history and statues!! This was where Captain Cook first discovered NZ. Also nice beaches and places to wander.
Our last night in Auckland was a lot of fun as we had money we had already drawn out to spend we were planning to go to the
Mt John Observatory
The Southern alps in the background
Minus 5 bar which is completely made of ice, but we decided that $60 would be best spent just cruising a few bars and having something to eat. So we found a couple of bars that had happy hours on a had a few drinks to toast our great time in NZ.
So good bye for now and we will see you all in Melbourne
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