Sailing the Sounds!!

Published: April 8th 2012
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Queenstown, a tourist town on Lake Wanaka flanked by the ‘Incredibles’ mountain range and Ben Lomond. Ok that’s the boring bit done, Queenstown is an adrenlin packed playground and our welcome involved travelling by cable car to the sadle of Ben Lomond and looking down to Queenstown with hang-gliders above us, bungee jumpers below us, Luge drivers alongside us and jet boaters on the lake. So we took the soft start and raced the Luge circuit in a go-kart no less than 5 times. Then to the serious stuff…45 minutes on the lake and Shotover River in a twin jet boat driven by Kevin with a glint in his eye like it was his last drive…it was. The boat shoots down the river like something from a Bond film, aiming for any obstacle and swerving at the last second. But the highlight is the 360 degree spins at full speed over a dozen times during the trip.

Then into the wilderness to Doubtful Sounds- a glazier waterway leading to the Tasmin Sea, for an overnight stay on the Navigator. (Ok a little bit more of a boring bit - Doubtful sound is less famous than its neighbour Milford sound but 3 times bigger, and know for its wilderness). We drove through the Fjiorlands to pick our our first boat across Lake Manapori and stopping for a ride on the Kingston Flyer vintage steam train. We cruised across the lake and driven a short journey across the pass (which has only existed since 1965) that is connected to no other roads and links the island east to west to the boarding bay. This was it, not connected to the mainland, no communication, no road, we set sail into the Sound that Captain Cook refused to enter. The mountain tops rise from the sea without any shoreline creating a corridor to sail through. It was an amazing experience, sailing out to the Tasmin Sea at sunset to view a colony of Sea Lions, escorted back into bay by a pod of bottlenose dolphins and sighting a blue penguin- the smallest in the world! The boat crew were fantastic serving homemade food throughout our stay- Rob liked the beef and lamb and was spotted at the carvery on at least 3 occassions. The trip also included kyaking and crazy people (including Rob) decided to jump into the freezing water. It was only later that evenning that the tour guides informed all of us that the waters did contain Great White Sharks..

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