After bungy jumping we had a 3 hour drive to Te Anau and stayed at a lovely holiday park, however it was freezing! We got hardly any sleep because we were shivering and we could even see our own breath; I wore 3 tops a jumper, jeans, socks and the duvet! After 4 hours sleep we had to race to the tourist information centre where we were being picked up to go kayaking, typical of us we woke up late so ran and in fact were half hour early as we had been told to be there for 6.30am when it was 7am. So we grabbed a hot sausage roll and cup of tea and jogged on the spot until the coach came. I use the word coach as a loose term it was in fact a death trap with a few seatbelts, rather uncomfortable for Chris but the views on the way were beautiful. There was frost on the ground and clouds laid on the lakes with the peaks of mountains poking out above, we stopped at Mirror Lake and had a hot chocolate. A rather large tour bus pulled up behind us and all these people were going on the same tour, yet their seats were spacious with head rests and proper heating. Chris and I tried to come up with a plan to sneak us in but there was no room so back into the death trap we went.
We arrived at Milford Sound and I cannot emphasise how cold it was, everyone was shaking and contemplating whether getting wet was the best option. Mike, our instructor gave us all our gear that we needed to wear and at this moment in time looking fashionable is not really a concern, so we put on our long johns, wetsuit top, fleece, waterproof jacket, life jacket and hat - we were blissfully warm :) Chris automatically took the role of navigator so went in the back seat of the kayak, but his legs were too long for the pedals which operated the rudder so I had to take up the challenge. We were pushed out into the lake and we begun rowing with such enthusiasm, the current was quite strong which helped us sail down the estuary. Mike pointed out all the different mountains and facts about Milford which for example as a town gets all its electricity from the waterfalls! We parked our kayak next to a cascading waterfall and as we rowed towards it a cool breeze came off the rocks. We sailed around the edges of the mountains and came across a seal sitting on a rock, he happily posed for pictures and then we had lunch on a pebble beach and watched the ferries sail by. As we floated past the rocks we leaned back enjoying the sun on our faces dipping our fingers into the cool lake and saw yellow starfishes.
After lunch the disputes began about how Chris wished he was navigator because apparently I can't accurately judge distance between the other kayaks or rocks. Additionally Chris will argue that every time he turned round I wasn't rowing, in fact I stopped rowing because he turned round - that's my story and I'm sticking to it :) eventually I found it far more fun to purposefully veer too far right or left so I could hear Chris' voice echo through the mountains 'LEFT' 'RIGHT' 'LEFT', the shake of his head in disbelief of my poor steering became positive reinforcement for me to just keep doing it. Having said that we both really enjoyed it, saw some beautiful sites and animals but next time Chris wants his own kayak and more to the point I want mine :)
We slept most of the journey back to Te Anau but this time on the luxurious bus as our one had a petrol leak and didn't have enough to get back - that could have been a story and a half! To get some head way getting back up north I drove the three hours back to Queenstown, another test of character for me as it was pitch black with lots of twisty roads. We stayed at the same site next to the lake two nights before, we slept for 13 hours popped into Queenstown then began our 4 hour journey to a place just north of Geraldine. The first part of drive was a lovely memory of Chris and I reminiscing about the past 6 weeks, what were going to do when we come home, talking about what you're all up to and what it's going to be like when we see you! all of this being said with a pinky/purple sky and mountains all around. As the sun began to set I had to keep my eye out for animals as there are so many laying on the roads, so by my count I saved three hedgehogs, one rabbit and one possum - doing my bit for nature. But by coincidence as it got dark the satnav started playing up by trying to get us to drive over rivers again and taking us through dirt tracks to dead ends. My heart began to race as every scary thought ran through my head like someone kidnapping us - perfect time to become irrational! As I was driving I was in charge, so I ignored Chris and the satnav and drove off the dirt tracks back to normal roads. We inputted a new destination into the satnav which again took us down a dirt track but we eventually found the conservation campsite. The only reason we have camped at these places is because it saves us some money but doesn't help the blood pressure! This site was supposed to be $7 each so approx £3.50 each in comparison to a holiday park which is $40, but as they had run out of envelopes to put our money into and nowhere to put our money and there were no people that guard these sites we had a free night, which I personally think we deserve :)
It was another cold night so we hit the road at 9.30am and in daylight the area was picturesque. We're now on a 7.5 hour drive to Picton so we can catch the ferry tomorrow to Wellington to meet Auntie. We're rocking out to Lynyrd Skynyrd at the moment admiring the ever changing scenery; all the leaves are a yummy golden, burgundy brown and has the smell of autumn in the air just like home. I hope your all enjoying the spring, only 5 weeks to go and we'll be home but so much to see before then.
Love to all, Love Jess and Chris xxx