Queenstown and Milford Sound

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February 17th 2008
Published: February 20th 2008
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The drive into Queenstown was absolutely stunning! Queenstown sits next to Lake Wakatipu, and is surrounded by mountains - including 'The Remarkables' - aptly named! We had a slight panic when we arrived because we hadn't booked anywhere to stay and loads of places were fully booked - eventually we found somewhere for the first night - phew!

We spent the first day taking a look round Queenstown, collecting hundreds of leaflets and trying to decide what we wanted to do during our stay! We found a really good deal on a trip to Milford Sound, so booked ourselves on!

Milford Sound
The bus picked us up at 6.45am - we hadn't realised it would take so long to get there! Doesn't look far on the map, but the roads have to navigate their way round the mountains! The drizzle that was with us first thing in the morning soon cleared giving us great views of the countryside we were driving through - 'Lord of the Rings' type scenery!- fortunately the bus stopped to break the journey and for us to get photos - Mirror Lake was one of the stops - got some good pics! Saw a glacier creeping round the side of a mountain which was pretty impressive, and a few waterfalls. Milford Sound itself was incredible, our boat cruised around the fiord all the way out to the Tasman sea. We saw bottle nosed dolphins leaping out of the water right by the boat, seals sunbathing on rocks and even 2 penguins just floating around in the water! The boat drove right underneath a waterfall - got pretty wet! Its a bit difficult to explain the scale of Milford Sound, and even the pictures probably don't do it justice - think we got some good shots though!

Queenstown Gondola
An incredibly steep gondola ride took us high up above Queenstown for a great view of the lake, mountains and Queenstown itself. We took millions of photos becasue the view kept changing as the clouds came across and then cleared again. It was freezing at the top! It had snowed overnight - not at Queenstown level but on the mountains nearby and the wind was bitterly cold!

Jet Boating!
As we were in Queenstown, known as the 'adrenaline capital of the world' we thought we'd better do something adventurous! So we opted for the Shotover Jet... it was so much fun! Basically a jet boat took us speeding along the Shotover River, really close to the sides of the canyon - it really felt like we were going to hit the rocks! And every now and again we did a 360 degree spin and got absolutely soaked!! It was amazing! We looked like drowned rats when we got off!

On our final day V went paragliding! I absolutely loved it! It was a bit of a bizarre feeling having to run towards the edge of the cliff - especially as I was in front with the pilot behind me! Once the parachute inflated it took us up into the air straight away and we actually gained some height - it was so smooth and quiet and not at all scary once we were up. So we just floated around the valley for about 15 mins - going into the wind felt we were barely moving forward at all, but as soon as we turned around it was really fast! Coming into land was really gentle too, we just stood up out of the seat/harness and let the parachute down. I'd do it again any day!

Franz Josef here we come...!

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