Ian & Claire's Adventure
We drove up to Milford Sound. The drive was tough, lots of hills that Delia hates and then some amazing countryside, very imposing and a trecherous very steep downhill tunnel with avalanche zones all over. We arrived to the only place to stay, and checked in, the place seemed quite nice, we went over to the sound to take a look although the weather was pretty bad, drizzling and very foggy so we couldnt see much, there is a big fiord with a few steep mountains jutting up into a lake. We went back to the camp and tried to cook a meal with loads of other people, the facilities are nearly impossible for the huge number of people, but we managed to cook a nice stew and get somewhere to sit. Then we sat and played cards and read a bit. The next morning we were greated by thousands of sandflies which was awful, we had to run around and drive off with the doors open flapping them out as they tried to bite us. We then went off to the sound, we chose the cheapest trip ( 1 1/2 hours out to the Tasman sea and back again). It was pretty bad weather although with over 7m of rain a year its pretty typical. The trip was really good, the mountains are pretty amazing, with waterfalls running down into the water from great heights. The commentary could have been better but he view was enough. On the way over we had two bottle nose dolphins surfing at the front of the boat which was great to see, and on the way back we saw some nurse seals sitting on rocks and swimming past us. We could imagine in summer the sight of the mountains mirrored off the water is pretty special. We were dropped off to visit the underwater observatory which was great, a 9m deep viewing place where you can see marine life and balck coral (very rare) which is supposed to live at 70m but the freshwater covering in the fiord creates the same environment high up. We got back in Delia and got about 2km when we stopped for lunch we saw steam pouring out, oh joy there was water pouring out from the hose to the radiator, we were gutted especially as we were miles from anywhere and the huge tunnel was a head of us and no stopping avalanche zones. We set off anyway having filled her up with water, and got a bit further before she completely overheated. Luckily a nice guy stopped in his 4x4 with all the kit to tow us as far as the otherside of the tunnel. He agreed it was probably the hose so we just filled her back up and managed to get back to Te Anau. We decided to try and get to Queenstown so we could stay somewhere for a while and get her fixed (there are a few other problems needing attention). We stayed the night in Te Anua then set off for Queenstown in the morning.