Edit Blog Post
Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: -44.6698, 167.928
Today the pickup was at 7.20 am and it was only 5 mins walk from the hostel to Athol st. Again the tour was with Great Sights and the coach had glass-roof for views of the skyline but the weather was gloomy, cold and it had rained heavily at night.
The tour was packed and along the way there are few stops for brief walks at Mirror Lake, The Chasm a short walk over footbridges spanning a series of swirling waterfalls and at the Monkey Creek which was good place for pictures. We passed the rugged mountain terrain past Te Anau on the shores of the largest lake in the South Island. This is a Journey through the Southern Alps and along the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest with thousands of gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand.
We stopped at Te Anau for bite to eat, the queues for the cafe were rather long but I managed to get vegetable soup, sandwich which I had to finish quickly.To start with we got all rain, mist and haze but then out came the
sun then it was spectacular, the mixture of sunny and rainy weather made it dramatic, We stopped to fill the water bottles at the fresh water stream which tasted really good.Then we travelled through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, the guide gave us some history about how it was carved. As we approached Milford Sounds we met the friendly Kea that meets and greets the passing tour buses!
At Milford Sound, we boarded for our 1 1/2 hour Cruise and set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the Eighth Wonder of the World. We travelled the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crashing into the sea far below. As it had rained heavily, the reward was a myriad of waterfalls, from the time we entered Fjordland National Park and throughout the entire cruise. The Lush native forest were clinging to the steep cliffs and we saw the seals, the captain did take us close but they do look tiny on the pictures. At the pinnacle of the sound, Mitre Peak rises dramatically from
the depths to a height of 1,692 metres above sea level.
Along the way we had live and informative commentary but not many people bothered to listen as we were on the top deck for the best views. We made a small group of German guy who was going to do intern ship in Auckland and Jane living in Auckland with English ancestry. She had bought a camper and rented her flat to finance the trip.
The catamaran provided lunch at additional cost but I took my own packed lunch of cheese roll, fruits, cashew nuts, cheese biscuits and roasted chick peas. I was not that hungry as I had eaten at the café and there was free tea and coffee on board the vessel. Towards the end of the cruise the captain navigated the ship under one of the bigger falls and this was really fun and some of the young people got wet.
Then it was time to head back to Queenstown and at Te Anau, the queue in the café was too long so my left over food was v useful, Being a vegetarian, I always keep little supply of food and water with
me in my backpack in case I do not have choices.
We reached Queenstown around 8 pm, I did a grocery shop at the Alpine supermarket on the way to hostel and Vic managed to sort out my wifi. I was tired after 2 long days so I wanted a hot shower before bed but I had to queue for shower because the bathroom was occupied most of the time. It was a long but wonderful day.
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