Te Anau & Milford Sound

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April 10th 2012
Published: April 12th 2012
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10th April contd – On to Te Anau

We then back tracked to Queenstown and then carried on to Te Anau. Again we followed a winding valley alongside a beautiful lake with yet more mountains. A couple of hours later and we arrived at our motel.

Then it was the usual trot around the ‘town’ and down to the lake, while checking out the eating places. Again it is all lovely but food wise expensive so we ended up with a Chinese takeaway – just when you think you have escaped rice!

We are staying here for 2 nights as tomorrow we are going to Milford Sound which is another 75 miles up the road but too expensive to stay in. We are actually splashing out on a boat trip on Milford Sound as it is reckoned to be incredibly beautiful…..and we have found one for only $68 pp!

11th April ’12 Milford Sound

Well slept in until 9.15 am! The motel lady was clearly not impressed and kind of wrinkled her nose up at me and said I would have thought you would have been gone up Milford Sound already – I just
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Hollyford Lookout
laughed and said technical hitch slept in and laughed. Anyway Howard was champing at the bit to get going so we were soon off (managed to forget the travel sick tabs in the rush).

Once more we were travelling along a long and winding road, past mountains, lakes and forests. Our first stop was at the Mirror Lakes – pond would have been a more accurate description but it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, plus it was windy so the water was rippling and you couldn’t see any reflected mountains which was a shame. It was really cold! The first cold weather we have had since leaving England!

We had another couple of photo stops – the scenery really was superb and then stopped at the Homer Tunnel and did the nature walk, chilly but lovely and again with shades of 28 Days Later. We had to wait for about 6 minutes (there was a timer) before we could enter the Homer Tunnel, which is a kind of rough hewn tunnel that goes for about ¾ mile right through the mountain. The road then twisted and turned sharply down the mountainside and on to The
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Homer Tunnel area
Chasm stop. Here we did the loop forest walk which went past the torrent of a waterfall, which swirled and spun down the mountain.

Not long after we got our first glimpse of Milford Sound and the Mitre Peak and it was sooooo pretty! a towering triangle mountain, blue sky and sparkling water. We had about an hour until our cruise set off so we walked along the water side and admired the humongous ducks.

We picked the cruise with the smallest boat which also was the only one that went right out into the Tasman Sea unlike the other trips. It was a good choice as massive groups of Japanese tourists were piling onto the other huge cruise ships, while our boat which could hold 75 only had about 20 of us on it.

Milford Sound is actually a fiord (and we are in the area called Fiordland) as it was formed by a glacier going out to the sea, it was discovered and named by a ship’s captain who was from…..Milford Haven in Wales no less.

The scenery was all towering forested mountains rising sharply up from the water, in places the trees had
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Homer Tunnel area - it was a bit chilly!
been ripped out of the mountain side by heavy rains. There were waterfalls crashing down the mountains and plunging through gullies and it was almost impossible to realise the scale of what we were seeing.

Rounding one of the folds in the mountains we came across seals basking on the rocks in the sunshine, it was amazing they were totally unfazed by the boat. All in all it was a pretty good trip and despite forgetting the sea sick tablets and the boat doing some serious pitching when we headed out on the Tasman Sea I managed to survive!

The scenery was real Lord of the Rings stuff and looking through the guide book I discovered that the next place we are staying in – Wanaka runs Lord of the Rings filming locations tours!! And much to my delight you can even dress up as a Hobbit!!! It sounds fab but for some reason Howard doesn’t seem as keen as me, partly due to cost - $170 pp for a half day (the book’s 2 years out of date) but also the idea of dressing as a Hobbit doesn’t seem to have the same appeal to him…. Strange
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Homer Tunnel

Tonight we discovered that NZ isn’t quite as like England as we had thought, we put the tele on and some Watchdog type programme was on (about 7pm) and they were doing an item on parking tickets, at the end the very well dressed presenter calmed stated that people who issue parking tickets were all ‘bloody bastards’!!! we couldn’t stop laughing!

Additional photos below
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Milford Sound

The Chasm
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First view of Milford Sound and Mitre Peak
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Milford Sound

Stirling Falls
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Milford Sound

Pembroke Glacier
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Bowen Falls

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