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Published: April 11th 2007
Milford Sound boat cruise
birds eye view of southern alps and fiordland
up close and personal with the ice
Thursday morning we met at Ultimate Hikes headquarters and took a five hour bus ride to the Te Anau where we had lunch and then got on a boat that took us to the end of the lake where the start of the Milford track is. We got off the boat and walked about a mile to the first lodge- and when I say lodge I mean it. These places were so nice, dining area with a seating area. My mom and dad had their own room with their own hot shower. I slept in a bunk room with other people and I was always put with this really nice older lady named Ellie. She was sooo cute, probably 65 and had sooo much energy and was just so nice and friendly to everyone- I was lucky to be put with her. Although there was no one my age, there was a family with three teenage kids and one night we played scrabble with them and they were super nice. I was nervous that there would be nothing to do at the huts once we got there in the early afternoon, but there were games and every night we had
a little slide show presentation and this Japaneese guy who spoke barely any English played the guitar for us one night- so funny- couldn’t understand what he was saying at all, even though he was singing English lyrics.
The meals on the trip were unbelievable. Every morning there was continental breakfast of cereals and fruit and then hot breakfast such as eggs, bacon, sausage, ect. Then they put out stuff for us to make a sack lunch and at ever place we stopped for lunch they made us hot drinks and hot soup. Then for dinner the food was sooo good. I mainly had fish, but there were also options such as steak and lamb chops. I definitely gained weight on this trip- which is ridiculous since we walked 35 miles. That night at the first hut they gave us a little nature walk and then they served cheese and cracker o’derves and the bar opened at 5pm but I didn’t have anything to drink the whole trip. The only bad thing was there was no heat in the huts and I was freezing the first night, but the rest of the nights I was fine.
day we hiked about 10 miles through mainly rainforest. There were two nice waterfalls that kind of just drizzled down the sides of the mountains into small lakes. The weather was kind of overcast the whole time and I barely made it to the lodge before it started raining pretty hard. We were worried about the next day’s weather but in the morning it was dry and looked ok. We started up over the pass, which has the only up hill challenging part of the whole treck, but it wasn’t took hard. When I was about half way through the switchbacks it started snowing! It was sooo beautiful though and I was glad it wasn’t rain. My dad and I got to the top of the pass and everything was covered in snow and there was pretty much no visibility of the surround mountains but it was so beautiful anyway. There was a monument on the top commemorating McKinnin for finding the pass which it is named after and we also went to 11 second drop which is a shear rock face that if you fell off would drop you straight to the bottom where the third lodge was. We
hiked to “Pass hut” and by that time I was sooo cold and couldn’t feel my hands. There was a small heater there so we warmed up and made the decent down from McKinnin pass and by that time the weather had cleared and it was so nice! I think my favorite part of the hike was coming down along this beautiful waterfall. The steps went right along side it and made me feel as if we were almost hiking in it. Once we made it to the hut we dropped our packs and my dad and I hiked two miles to Sutherland Falls which is the tallest waterfall in NZ and one of the top 5 tallest in the world. It had three different parts to it and it was soooo tall and the amount of water coming down made such a loud noise and created so much spray that even though we weren’t even standing very close we got all wet from the spray.
The last day was a long one-13 miles and it was mostly through the jungle bush again. We crossed a lot of bridges- 273 to be exact! And we stopped at a beautiful
just a short walk the first day
it was only about a mile to the first lodge
waterfall for lunch. When we finally made it to the end we stayed in a little hut to avoid the bugs at what is called “sandfly bay”. Then a boat picked us up and took us to Milford where we stayed in an actually lodge and had our celebration dinner and they gave us a picture of our group and a certificate to say that we completed the Milford Track
The next morning we got on a boat that took us out onto the Milford sound and out to the ocean. It was the most amazing place I have ever seen. The mountains were just towering above us- Miter Peak stand a mile high and 1000m deep into the water. There were tons of waterfalls along the way and on the way back dolphins swam next to our boat!!! There had to of been at least 20 of them and there was even a little baby one!
When we got back my dad surprised my mom and me and we got to take a helicopter ride back to Queenstown instead of going on the bus for 5 hours! The helicopter ride was the most amazing thing I have
the first lodge
kate and Rosco- two of our guides in the red
done here so far! We flew over this glacier and we could see the cracks in the ice and there was a beautiful blue lake at the bottom. Then we flew over the Routeburn track and it was so cool to see where I have been hiking. Just looking out into the distance was so cool though because the Southern Alps just went on forever, farther that the eye could see and farther than I had imagined. Some were covered in snow and some weren’t. Then we flew over the lake that Queenstown sits on and we say views of the Dart River, Glenorchy and Queenstown. SOOOOO sweet!!!!
The next morning we drove to Dunedin and drove to the tip of the peninsula and then out to Sandfly Beach. We saw a sea lion and a penguin we all even hiked up to the top of the sand dune. That night we stayed in the Larnarch castle and in the morning we took a tour of the place. We went though some of the referbushed rooms and then to the top of the castle and the views of the city were so pretty. Then we went into Dunedin and
first we stopped at the railway station and went into the sports hall of fame. Then I took them to the Octogon, the Speights Brewery where my dad got a shirt, Cadbury factory and to Baldwin street After, I showed them 480 and then my flat. They were so disgusted with 480 and though my flat was really nice but it was cold that day so they got a little taste of what I’m going to be going though as it starts to be freezing here. That night we went out to dinner with Anne and O’Brien at this nice seafood restaurant on George Street. Then I slept at the Castle again and they left in the morning! I’m so sad that they are gone but we had the best trip and I think they loved NZ!!! (but honestly, who wouldn’t )
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