Queenstown - Dunedin - Invercargill - Te Anau - Milford Sounds - Queenstown..., New Zealand
The next Monday we had yet another lazy day- for Queenstown being known for its adrenaline packed activities and crazy nights out we had been surprisingly chilled! Some people were feeling delicate from the heavy night before so the morning disappeared quite quickly! In the afternoon a big group of us decided to go luging, we met everyone downstairs and walked up to the gondola to get to the track. We had 6 go's each (+1 freebie for me as I had some kids trying to be clever with their tickets in front of me but it just worked out to benefit me!).It was absolutely beautiful scenery on a really crisp day, the boys had a few crashes and there were a few injuries but being the only girl I took it nice and gently and really enjoyed it, but it was icy icy cold, think that's one of the coldest I've ever been, was hobbling around with sore feet for the day, so had to get back to the hostel and have a hot water bottle to get us all back to normal temperature!! We had a lazy evening, involving a nice early evening nap and we had to say goodbye to Scott that night - our numbers were getting smaller!
Next day (mine and Alan's three year anniversary :o) ) we had a wander around Queenstown, had a legendary "Fergburger chip butty!" and I sorted out my money and activities and was feeling quite good as everyone around me seemed to be making thee "parent bank call" or cutting their trips short which is rubbish.
Wednesday we wandered around town again, I went to the gym and then we all crammed into the TV room in the evening to watch Mission Impossible 3. I had to pack up all my stuff after this and say the first goodbyes to everyone as I was leaving in the morning to start the Bottom Bus and wouldn't see "Team Kiwi" again :o(
On Thursday I had to get up for a specific time for once! That hasn't happened for a while with our lazy week in Queenstown! I said my goodbyes to Mary and the guys and then went downstairs to board the Bottom Bus, this time we had a mini bus which was nice as it meant we could get to know everyone on the bus rather than have about 50 people which was good. We had a picture stop at Clyde Dam and then got to Dunedin - which is Edinburgh in Gaelic but it didn't actually look much like Edinburgh.We checked in and then went straight to Cadburys World for a tour, it was quite good going a bit older as you actually listened to the information rather than just eat all the chocolate but it wasn't as good as the chocolate over in England, it's just not right! Apparently it's the dairy- different cows! We asked the lady why it was different and she gave us that reason then said probably because there's less pollution too.We didn't say it but we thought bring on the pollution then, ours is much nicer! But they do have so many more flavours than us; I treated myself to the Chocolate Fudge Brownie one- chocolate with a gooey brownie centre! Would love to bring some home for people to try but I don't think somehow it will last Fiji! We watched Shaw Shank Redemption in the TV room that night and then I went and played some pool downstairs with the guys- shocking them with some flukey skills!
Next day we got up and checked out then drove to Baldwin Street- the Worlds Steepest Street- in the Guinness Book of Records and everything, so of course we walked up it, puffing and panting at the top! Next stop was Kaka Point- a quaint little pub for cheese toasties whilst looking out onto the beach and sea, really beautiful. We then had a walk at Nuggets Point, but the cloud had come down really low so it was quite a mystical one! After this we went for a walk along a beach on the Caitlin's Coast in search for some sea lions but unfortunately we only found a female lying out on the beach so the males must have been out swimming. We started walking back but the tide had come in so we had to take our shoes off and wade back round the corner in the icy water! We went to a pub for lots of lunch and I had a huuuge portions of veggie nachos-nicely polished off though and then went for another walk to a really big waterfall through some beautiful forest land, lots of walking today.
After this we then went to Curio Bay- the most southerly point of New Zealand- next stop Antarctica and saw some really rare yellow eyed penguins which was really good, as we drove to Invercargill there was a beautiful sunset no camera can show properly, we checked into Tuatara Lodge and then went next door for a "Bottom Bus" meal at the Speight's Ale House.It felt very posh and quite expensive too but working it out afterwards it was only 12 pounds for a posh meal, pudding and drinks! Shows how much of a backpacker mode we're in!
We left late morning the next day, we were supposed to go to a Paua Shell Factory but as it was Anzac Day everything was closed so the highlight of the day was sitting on a huge concrete whale at Riverton! Slightly random but what the hec! We also stopped at McCracken's Rest where the guys got their bums out and sat on the sign! So instead of having a day of activities we drove straight though to Te Anau, which we were a bit disappointed about, until we got there and it was an absolutely beautiful place.Our hostel was right on the lake with the most amazing view, the sun was out and it was a beautiful little town, we went to a Swedish looking cafe to have some lunch then took a wander, I spent the afternoon sorting out my bag again - I'd had a bit of a washing powder explosion problem.Then in the evening we all cooked for each other in the kitchen and just sat in our lounge chatting with the lake view right in front of us, it really was a beautiful place and even better I somehow managed to get a double bed that evening so spread out in the evening feeling very relaxed.
On Sunday we got up and walked up the road with our bags to meet our Milford Sounds bus, we jumped on with a driver I can only describe as a cartoon character, bleach blonde hair and smiley overly whitened teeth! We stopped off at Mirror Lakes where the reflection caught the mountains perfectly even though the rain was disturbing the water.We drove through the Homer Tunnel and through to the Valley of a thousand waterfalls, unfortunately it was absolutely tipping it down which wasn't good at all for seeing Milford but it meant the waterfalls were so powerful, so it was quite spectacular.
We did a walk through a forest, well a run in the rain to a huge waterfall and then got back on the bus dripping wet and onto our Milford Sound cruise, we had a buffet lunch on there and took in the views even though the cloud was really low unfortunately, we saw some seals on the way and drove right up to a waterfall.We got off half way through to stop at an Underwater Observatory which was really cool and like the guide said, made a change for the fish to see us walking around in a bowl in front of them! There was a lot of travelling this day and it would have been so much prettier if the sun had been out but it didn't spoil the day it was still lovely, it was about 4 hours back to Queenstown and then we went out in the evening for the last "Bottom Bus Crew" night out in Altitude Bar.