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Published: June 26th 2018
Another morning and more time on struggle street. We had a 9:30 start this time but it was our last shift and was New Year’s Eve so couldn’t complain! As soon as it was over at 3:30 we got straight on the drink again. We spent a good few hours with all of the Volly’s at our campsite, headed out to see a band called Ocean Alley which was great. We then returned to our tent for some more substances and then headed out to see Tash Sultan first and the Fat Freddie’s Drop afterwards to see in the new year. It was such a great moment with everyone, surrounded by star lit mountains and good music - perfect.
Happy new year!
As with most New Years days it was spent horizontal wondering why you put alcohol into your bodies. We didn’t let this stop us taking the opportunity for free stuff. Lots of punters left camping gear and tents when they left so we spent some time getting ourselves a 5 man tent and some camping chairs. After this laborious effort however we decided that we couldn’t face a hot afternoon laying down in the hot tent and so spent the afternoon in the comfortable bed of the van with Netflix for company.
After our sleep we had a quick dip in the river with everyone to wake ourselves up and then headed out for MORE alcohol and food. This time though it was all free! We turned up to all of the Volly’s eating FREE BBQ with FREE BEERS all sat on beanbags lounging around. This was our favourite night of the festival and there wasn’t even any live music. The vibe was really chilled and it was the last chance to chat with everyone we’d met along the way as well as have an actual dance where there wasn’t crowds of people. It was an awesome night.
We all cleared out of the festival in the morning after sneaking one last free hot shower and had arranged to meet up at a rodeo later in the day.
First we wanted to check out a place called “waste busters” which was a recycling centre selling everything and anything you want at super cheap prices. We called in to have a look, bought a screwdriver to make some running repairs to the van and headed out towards the rodeo. The place was buzzing with food stalls and families all wearing cowboy hats and there was a hilarious compare getting the crowd going for all the events. There were heaps of events; cowboys attempting to stay on bucking horses, timed races round barrels and lassoing calves as they ran for there dear lives! They saved the best event until last though and with the booming soundtrack of AC/DCs Thunder in our years the Bull Riding commenced!! It was incredible to watch and the crowd we going wild, there were some pretty successful riders who managed a safe dismount and exit. However, there were also some pretty serious injuries and we couldn’t help feeling like it was pretty mean on the bulls. After all the excitement of the rodeo and the last week of being sociable we decided to part from the group and go and find a little spot for some R&R. On our way we crossed a river where there were people surfing and play kayaking in the surf of a weir in the river. We made our way out in the direction of the mountains and onto Lake Hawea which was absolutely stunning. As we drove round the lake we entered a “freedom camping” zone and found the most idillic spot surrounded by ferns right on the waters edge with no one around!
The following day we woke up in our little paradise spot and went swimming in the lake before breakfast. Once again we were the only people around apart from the occasional water skier we could make out on the lake. Char spent the day painting and Jack spent the day writing a song on the uke. It was a perfect day recharging our batteries and just “being” in a spot that was undeniably New Zealand! The water in the lake was so crystal clear we even filled up our water tank in the car.
We had made friends with a couple of girls called Kerrie and Colleen whilst at the festival who lived in Queenstown and had offered to show us round and hang out so after a leisurely start we motored on towards Queenstown to meet them. We stopped along the way to watch the bungee jumpers on the AJ Hackett bridge but weren’t tempted enough to wait in line and pay the extortionate fee! We camped that night in a free spot just outside of Queenstown and the following day headed round to K&Cs. We went with them to try the world famous “fergburger” and stood in the obligatory line waiting to find out what makes these burgers next level amazing!! Jack made an infinitely better selection than Char who stupidly opted for the “sweet bambie” (far too sweet), we took our burgers down to the front and sat and ate them on Percy’s bar which was a bar/ boat moored on the quay. Ok, the burgers were pretty good, were they great, no, would we queue again, probs not but it’s a right of passage and we were never not going to have one!!! We then wondered around the market stalls along the front and bought some greenstone jewellery off a friendly craftsman. It was a chilly day in QT and so after we watched a few boats of people racing across the lake on various adrenaline activities we headed back to Keri and Coleen’s. Queenstown is definitely the hub of adrenaline sports and would be an amazing place to come and splash the cash but for us it was no comparison to the beauty and tranquility of Lake Hawea.
We spent that night at a super packed site in a park/green by a lake. It was by far the busiest freedom site we’d been. Must have some reason to do with how busy QT is now and how expensive it is too. After a good sleep though we headed for the world famous Milford sound! The only road and way to get there is a town called Te Anu. One local kiwi there said it lined up to be the next QT with its route to Milford but also its outlying wilderness. It was a pretty cool place, very traditional - like a windswept, but quieter, English seaside. We attempted to have a stroll but just like a Blighty seaside, it was raining and freezing! We decided to sack off that plan and went shopping! We’d been talking about getting a fishing rod for ages and so bit the bullet and ‘hooked’ ourselves a rod. We drove on up to Milford sound and stayed at a free spot on the way for that night. It was a small spot off the main road by a river and a bridge. Not the best but ticked 2 criteria, private and A RIVER! True to form as first time fishermen/women - we ballsed up the first cast and our line was tied in knots with our spool looking like spaghetti. This left us having to spend all of our time sorting it out until it was too cold to try again. What else could we do but crack open a box of wine and ponder where we went wrong?
Today is Milford sound day! We got up nice and early and bombed the Mothership up to the waterfalls and wildlife. As expected it was busy as bro! We found a parking spot in the tourist centre and after some food we had a stroll about. We decided to splurge out and actually do a paid activity so booked a boat trip out into the sound (well actually ‘Fiord’). We went to the main tourist centre and booked a ticket for the nature cruise. Later we found out that closer to the port there was way more cruises that were way cheaper - doh!
After booking our ticket we eventually found a path that you could walk for free all around the cliff sides and forest. It was AWESOME, the views were spectacular and even with it being so busy it still had a sense of tranquility and peace. We walked over the cliffs to the viewpoints them onto the rock pools below and surrounding the harbour. Jack also enjoyed learning about the first man and women to live there back in the 1800s and how they lived off the land, whilst char enjoyed waiting for him to read everything....
It was time for the boat trip so we boarded up and got our cameras ready. It was amazing to get the views of the waterfalls cascading off the cliffs, apparently it rains there 182 days of the year so there’s lots of water! The boat had the bow right under one of them and, us being toddlers, we got wet. We saw a crowd of baby/adolescent seals chilling out on their rockery nursery and also the largest cruise ship in the Southern Hemisphere who decided to cruise right past us! Not so tranquil after all... but it didn’t spoil the experience.
After an awesome time we decided to drive back. This turned out to be a palaver. As the hills in this place were crazy steep they had built a tunnel THROUGH A MOUNTAIN to make it quicker. However our mighty Mothership decided to overheat just as we were about the enter the tunnel. Luckily we were right by a helpful lady in a high vis jacket who reassured us that it just needed a few minutes to cool down. During this time they arranged to close the tunnel just for us! They didn’t want us breaking down and jamming up the traffic so we proceeded to drive up the tunnel proudly waving at the cameras thanking them for a private mountain tunnel experience. Thankfully Mothership was humming again and nursed her to the nearest DOC campsite (which we had to pay for) and spent the night amongst the mountains with a river for a soundtrack.
The next day was less eventful. As per it’s reputation it was a rainy, drizzly, wet, cold day by Milford Sound so cancelled our morning walk and decided to spend the day driving down towards the southern tip of New Zealand where we found ourselves in a beautiful spot with the sea 20 yards from us.
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