New Posts

Paul here …

We’ve just arrived in Mount Cook Village and have a great net connection 🙂

So scroll down for 3 more posts that we’ve saved from the past few days.

Mount Cook village is pretty special, an amazing drive up here, but the mountain is hiding away under the cloud. Hoping for a better view tomorrow.

Arrowtown to Wanaka

Anne here …

Arrowtown – touristy, an American style Wild West gold mining town. But great fun and very picturesque. And wet, it’s raining. Fab, fab, fab breakfast in the hotel with roaring log fires, we could smell the woodsmoke in the room. Paul had eggs benedict and I had pancakes with bacon, banana, and maple syrup. Not a combination I had tried before but not bad at all. We had a pleasant walk up and down the very picturesque high street and popped in the local museum.

Now onto Wanaka . . . Via the scenic route.

The New Zealanders name every stream! I had noticed this before but having just passed Cardrona creek no. 1, Cardrona creek no.2 . . . And so . . . to Cardrona creek no. 10 (and I suspect there is more to come) I felt the need to comment. We have stopped in Cardrona which is in the middle of nowhere on the scenic route between Arrowtown and Wanaka and there are ” lifestyle plots” of land for sale so you can build affordable housing away from the rat-race.

The autumn colours of the countryside are just stunning. We are driving through rolling hills rather steep mountains. I suspect that it very popular for skiing in the winter.

Lake Wanaka . . . WOW. We arrived in steady rain but that cleared up while we were eating lunch – a chicken, bacon and Brie panini – that seems to be a favourite combination round here. Now the drive to Mount Cook starts . . . About 128 miles.

Miles Behind

Sorry we’re miles behind with the posts. Lack of free time, us being away from the Internet for the last 2 days and now a dodgy net connection in Queenstown has made it all difficult. We’re trying to keep a few posts going on Anne’s iPad and we’ll post those when we can.

Having a great time though.  Spent last night on a boat in Milford Sound and we were escorted back into the Sound by bottlenose dolphins. Really cool and amazing.

We’re back in Queenstown now for one night before we head off to Mount Cook village.

Just had a massive thunderstorm here which may explain the dodgy Internet access.

Milford Sound, Dolphins, Seals and Bees

Anne here …

We haven’t had decent internet access for three days and there is so much to tell you about.

From Te Anau we travelled onto Milford Sound. There are plenty of Welsh place names here in case we are feeling homesick – Cleddau river no. 1, Cleddau river no. 2, Dale point . . . As the tour guide on the boat pointed out, it’s a fiord (not a fjord) in Fiordland and not a “Sound” either. But we had two magical and stunning days there. I expected dramatic mountains, a deep loch, waterfalls and sandflies, all of which we got, but hadn’t anticipated tropical rainforest, steamy rain, ferns and bees (or as I called them – round little torpedoes which made a beeline for anything that interested them i.e. us).

The road to Milford was really, really amazing. Dramatic vistas at every turn. We stopped by the Chasm and admired dramatic waterfalls. The bridges across the rivers looked very amateurish although that didn’t seem to slow the tourist coaches down particularly. And at a couple of viewing points, the bees came to check us out! The bees loved us, it wasn’t reciprocated, especially not by me. We loved the ferns and the tropical vegetation.

At Milford, having watched the day cruises come and go, it was our turn to board the stunning Milford Mariner for our overnight cruise. Although motor driven, the boat also had three big sails, giving a very traditional feel. It could hold 60 visitors and our berth was really comfy and ensuite. Once again the visitors and crew were really friendly. We chatted to a young honeymooning couple from New York. She is a female Eco-engineer and he is an investment banker.

The Fiord is stunningly dramatic but not that long BUT by far the most memorable bit was having four bottle nosed dolphins swim along side us for about 15 minutes. It’s hard to explain properly how moving and special it was. Then as a bonus we stopped to watch the fiord’s resident seals playing on some rocks and sailed so close to a waterfall that we all got wet. A real highlight of our NZ trip that has already been completely wonderful. The food was good. We embarked at 4.30pm and disembarked at 9.30am.

Having said that Paul and I had opted to stop at the underwater observatory just before the end of the voyage so we disembarked 15 minutes early. The observatory is on a floating platform with a 20 metre metal tube below it. As it is in a National park and UNESCO world heritage site, the planning permissions are rightly ferocious. It was fascinating (sorry I am using that word a lot). After an introductory talk we went down about 60 steps to view the fiord’s inhabitants from underwater windows. There was no great dramas like seals but we loved it. Lots and lots of fish of all sizes, corals and starfish. So interesting and something that we have never done before.

So a real highlight of the trip so far. It look us about four hours to drive back to Queenstown where we spend the night before moving on.