Sam and Stu's Kiwi Travels
Today we woke at 6am to make the most of the time left on the boat in Milford Sound. We were hoping to see more that we were able to yesterday, but one look outside the window told a different story, suprise suprise it was raining!! Well they did say it rains here most days of the year, and as it was winter, maybe we were being a little optimistic. We got up anyway to make the most of the free breakfast that they had laid out for us upstairs... full cooked breakfast!!! (and plenty of it... sausaged, beans, hash browns.. you name it, it was there!!) followed by a continental breakfast of cereal and toast, fruit and yogurt... we couldn't move afterwards!! Well the sun was just starting to rise and we could make out the fiord that sarounded us... because of the rain the waterfalls were still in full flow and it wasn't as foggy as yesterday!! Out to the deck of the boat with the camera!! Well it was raining pretty hard, but at least we could see what was around us today... and it was an awesome sight!! We could see Mitre Peak, the famous peak of the Fiors (This is the photo above...) unfortunately it didn't look like this today, but it was still good to see. Our first destination of the morning was out to the Tasman Sea, this is where the sea legs came in handy, the sea sudenly chopped up and we were being thrown from one side of the boat to the other!! Sam and I were the only two people on deck, we are either hardcore or crazy... you decide, but we managed to get some good photos in, and a little bit of video recording... Then it was inside to dry the cameras before we headed back inland through the fiord. Along the way in we saw some more amazing waterfalls, some we were told were the largest waterfalls we would see in the world!! (Not as wide as Niagra but a lot taller!!) We passed a mountain called 'Mount Kim' :o) which had a sixty foot overhand at the top!!! We were told to lean back against the rails of the boat and look up to take it all in, it was pretty impressive... then we were told a story of a stunt woman who threw herself off the ledge with a parachute attached for a competition, they missed it the first time so asked her to do it again, funnily enough she declined!! Base jumping.. hmm, now there's a thought?! As we were coming to the end of our cruise we spotted some Seals on the rocks beside the mountains, there were three on the rocks taking in the view and another coming up from the water after feeding... A little further on we were told to come to the bow of the ship to take a look at something, we had gained a travelling companion. We rushed to the front and sure enough there was a dolphin surfing playing at the front of the boat. He was swimming from one side to the other and at each side he would jump out of the water just ahead of the boat - an amazing sight, Sam was thrilled that she had got to see her dolphin!!! After a while he left us and then there was a shout from the back of the boat, it was quite a funny sight watching everyone run from side to side of the boat following the dolphin, now there was a stampede to the back of the boat to watch another dolphin surfing the wake of the boat. In the distance you could see four or five doplphins jumping out of the water and a few large splashes as they were feeding... it was a really nice way to finish off the trip! We docked at the town and headed back to the rental car, I drove this time and we headed off back to Queenstown. It was really strange as we drove home, the winter wonderland that we had driven through only the day before, had been completely washed away, not a trace of snow was left, and now we were driving through thick forests of green trees all the way to the Homer tunnel... there was one advantage to this - no snow chains!!! As we got to the other side of the tunel we came once again to the avalanche zone, and there was no stopping for a while... We got to the first stop off point, and instead of driving on, a policeman (now bear in mind we hadn't seen a policeman on the rode since we'd been driving in New Zealand!!) raised his hand and motioned for me to stop at the side of the road?!?!? I wound my window down and waited for him to come over... "Morning, are you carrying snow chains in your car?" he asked. "Yes, there in the back." I replied. "Good, that's just saved you a $750 fine" - now we'd seen no warning of a fine for this, I recon he was making this one up?!? but I wasn't going to tell him... the other strange thing was that he didn't want to check, he just took my word.. oh well I'd remember that one if you're ever stopped by a Kiwi policeman... Anyway we were back on the road in no time and heading through the forests, past all the lakes, until we came to**** Creek (yeah we thought that was pretty funny too), well just a little further was the 45o line of latittude... We stopped off and got a photo of us standing behind it, now I just need the Northern line and both the poles... :o) We carried on to the town of Te Anau and decided to stop at the supermarket as Sam needed chocolate! Whilst in there we bumped into Phil and Sharleyne the couple we had met on the boat... that's how sparce NZ really is, we'd been driving for 2 hours, and we'd both stopped at the only supermarket for miles around!? We decided to stop at the pub oposite and have a few games of pool and a drink to rest for a little. After leaving the pub with the scores level at pool we carried on driving. We drove the length of Lake Wakatipu's Southern leg stopping off at numerous locations to get some pics before reaching Queenstown around 3pm. We then headed to the electrical store as we had the car and brought some cable for the new TV and then to the supermarket to buy food for the next few weeks hopefully!!!?!?! Before heading home for the evening.