This morning we were so thoroughly fed up with the sand flies surrounding us that we decided to pack up and drive further along the road, away from the Lake, and have breakfast somewhere else! We drove for a few kms and found a roadside shelter with toilets, so we stopped there. The shelter is used by serious hikers, or 'trampers' before and after their very very long walks! We make do with the 30/45 minute round trip walks only!
After breakfast, we drove a little further along the road and came to a lookout point called 'Pop's View'. As we drove into the small parking area we were both blown away by the panoramic view of snow-capped mountains. Today was a lot clearer than yesterday and the sky was bright blue above the mountains - what a view! We took a few photos, which don't really do it justice, then hit the road again.
Our next stop was a detour off the Milford Road to Gunn's Camp, which was used in the 1930's for the men who were building the Homer Tunnel, a little further along the Milford Road. The camp is named after Davey Gunn, the original founder, and his son Murray, who took over after his death. All the original huts still remain, apart from the store and musuem which were rebuilt after the original buildings burnt down. We paid $1 each to look around the small museum. The camp is still running and we found out we could have stayed there last night instead of the DOC site.
A little further down this detour road we got to Humboldt Falls. It was a 15 minute walk (all uphilll!) to get to the quite spectacular falls. Back on the main road we drove further towards Milford Sound, and just be fore we reached the Homer Tunnel, we found ourselves in a winter wonderland surrounded by snow...well, it wasn't on the roads, but we parked up and got to play in some by the roadside! I kept sinking a little into the snow but Dave wanted to get a picture of us further out, so we walked a little further until one of my legs sank right up to my knee (see picture)! Fun over, we managed to get back to dry land, and I fished the snow out of my shoes!
The next adventure was the VERY steep Homer Tunnel. As we drove into the 1.2km tunnel, it took a few seconds for our eyes to adjust from bright daylight to pitch darkness, and then I realised that it was all downhill and scarily steep! We made it safely through to the other sides, brakes intact, and started our descent into Milford Sound.
We had booked a site at Milford Lodge, the only campsite in the town, so we headed straight there. The lodge was lovely with a big lounge filled with sofas, so after a long-awaited shower (after 3 nights at DOC sites!), we retired there with our books. It was a lovely day and we would have happily sat outside if it hadn't been for the blummin sandflies!!We also managed to get some washing done while we were there, and used the internet.
After tea, we read for a while before going to bed early. We had to set an alarm for only the second time in NZ (first time was for our trip to Cape Reinga) as we had to be up early for our 9:45 cruise on the Sound!