Day 8: Milford Sound

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March 21st 2011
Published: March 24th 2011
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Day 8 – Monday the 21st of March

We’re starting to feel the ouch from our “slap a Camper “game. It’s getting more and more vicious, soon the bruises will begin to appear. But oh so much fun!

After arriving late into Te Anau we woke early and set off up to the Milford Sound to make it in time for our cruise. (Another 101 Must Do for Kiwis)

Renee did most of the driving today until the last windy roads. Was a very picturesque drive, through avenues of trees and along the shores of several lakes and then finally winding down the mountains into the sound. Part of the drive down the mountain included passing through an amazing tunnel which was dug out of the mountain. It gave the feeling of having only been mined the day before, the walls were bare-rock and dripping with water. It was bumpy, long and very dimly lit. Was an amazing feeling.

We had cut the time close, underestimating the extra time it would take through the windy roads and mountains. But we made it with 15mins to spare...phew!

The sun was out but it was FREEEEEEEEEEZING! Luckily we had packed jackets, scarves and hoodies. The boat was grand. A lovely old boat called the “Milford Mariner”.

The cruise terminal resembled a busy International airport, with the cruise ships lined up like aeroplanes. Was mind-boggling even at this time of the year. Would hate to think what it looks like in peak-season. The boat, before leaving, was swarming with ferocious little sand flies, luckily they stayed behind on land.

The cruise itself was 2½ hours, but even with the freezing air we still were crazy enough to sit on the top deck, we just couldn’t miss the stunning views. The dark, still waters and almost vertical cliff faces were breath-taking. If Renee came here with Mum and Dad in her youth, she really can’t remember it. But you seem to appreciate so much more as an adult.

Mitre Peak is one of the major attractions at Milford Sound. The 1683 metre high summit is merely a number, you really have to experience it yourself to fully comprehend the height. Below the water, that we could comprehend from our fishing and Dad’s fish finder, at the deepest point it’s 420 metres down. This depth is reached quickly as the mountains continue below the water. This allows the cruise boats to pull up almost to touching the rockface, allowing for a truly spectacular view of the mountains and their features.

Apparently when they’ve had rain (which isn’t rare, they average 7 metres per year) the downpours create cascading waterfalls all over the mountains and when the sun rises over the hills, they create rainbows, making it very exciting for the kids onboard. The largest of these, the Stirling Fall, is three times taller than the Niagara Falls. But when seen in relation to the huge mountains surrounding it, it looks quite underwhelming. Was very exciting on our journey back when the boat pulled right up under it, covering the front of the boat with water, where we happened to be standing. Made for some great pics... and a very wet camera!

We once again saw seals and even a small pod of dolphins. Quite spectacular.

After Milford Sound it was the return trip back into Te Anau, Matt drove the windy roads back. We parked the camper up by the lake and had lunch in the sun, it was peacefully bliss.

Renee then drove our beast into Queenstown. No one tells you about the bugs you encounter on that trip. Our windscreen and front of the cab was literally covered in bug kill by the time we reached our camping ground.
You may have noticed by this point that a lovely wee speck of black sand or grit has taken up residency in our camera lens. We have tried cleaning it but no luck, its here to stay and as we sadly had our video camera broken at our wedding, we and you will just have to make do with the slightly altered pictures.

After checking in to “Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park”, we set off on foot to explore the city, which wasn’t hard as our camp ground is about a 2 minute walk from the city centre. Matt was surprised by how bustling the city was, with so many of the stores open till late into the evening every night.

We were then on a mission to find “The Cow” a restaurant Renee discovered last time she was here with work. After wandering a few of the lanes we found the little hidden treasure. Apparently the locals hate it and steer clear as the service is shit (not that we experienced that) and you’re pretty packed in but Renee just remembered the scrummy pizzas and pasta. Yum! Upon arrival the fire was roaring and the staff were run off their feet. After a whole bottle of wine, so a rather long wait, we were seated on a table sharing with 4 others. It made it a very social dining experience. What do you get when you put 2 Kiwi’s, 2 Aussie’s and 2 Pom’s on a table together? Fun! We ended the evening at the local pool hall with the 2 Aussie’s, Aaron and Graham, who were butchers from Perth!

Be checking in again soon. Xoxoxoxoxox

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Mitre PeakMitre Peak
Mitre Peak

Named because its peak resembles a mitre as worn by the Pope
Stirling FallStirling Fall
Stirling Fall

See how miniscule it appears contrasted against the surrounding mountains. In actual fact it is 3 times the height of the Niagra Falls
Fairy FallsFairy Falls
Fairy Falls

Named due to the rainbows formed at its base
The CowThe Cow
The Cow

A bustling little restaurant - the best pizza and pasta in Queenstown!

26th March 2011

What is slap a camper all about?
28th March 2011

Everytime we see a camper you slap the other. Like punch a buggy. We wrote about it on the first blog.

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