Today was fabulous!! The weather was perfect!! The tour could not have worked out better!!
Before I get to the details, let me give you a little background on how we ended up here….
We landed in Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday, Sept 18. Christchurch is on the South Island and though our original plan was to see both islands, we realized as we were doing planning in Melbourne that there would just not be enough time to see everything that we wanted. We decided to forego our adventures on the South Island and concentrate on the North Island. We felt that we would get more bang for our buck there. Even though Richard had said that he did not want to do anymore driving after our 10 days with the camper, we also realized that renting a car was still the best way to get around. So, on Day Two in Christchurch, we picked up a Toyota Yaris. Nice and small and good on gasoline considering the price here is $2.38/litre – yes, this is not a typo – it is this price!! We also each got a haircut that day. We made the mistake of not asking the salon prices BEFORE the haircut and ended up paying $110 for our haircuts!! This is also not a typo – $110 for two short haircuts!! And I thought that $45 back home was ridiculous. Anyway, can’t dwell on this. The point of this story is that my hairdresser was appalled that we were not going to spend anytime on the South Island. At the same time, Richard was talking with an American lady, now living in New Zealand that was telling him the same thing. So, after paying for our 110 dollar haircuts, we went back to the BNB (which by the way was absolutely FANTASTIC!! – They had a dog :)) and began to rethink our travel plans. As we had not booked anything yet, we changed our direction and decided to head south first and do what we could. We booked a night in Dunedin, on the southeast coast and two nights in Te Anau on the southwest coast. I also booked a tour for Milford Sound for Sept 22.
Richard gave you a summary as to our trip to Dunedin so I won’t say much about that except that when we were visiting with our BNB hosts, Sandra mentioned that the road to Milford Sound had been closed for four days due to a snow storm. She was sure it would be open by the time we got there but it would depend on the weather staying fairly stable. Wow!! Did we make the right decision here or are we just wasting a few days driving around a snowstorm? Anyways, we left Dunedin on Friday and drove through the most amazing scenery that we have ever seen. Richard likened it to driving through a fairy tale book. White sheep were spilled across the green carpeted landscape. Proud mamas looked on as their babies frolicked with their new found mates or headed back to their mothers for a quick lunch. Rolling hills, green valleys, with mountains peaking around each corner. It was absolutely magnificent!!
Te Anau reminded us of Jasper. In fact, we took a picture downtown that we were going to label – “Are we in Jasper or New Zealand?” It may or may not make the cut. Our BNB is awesome as are our hosts!! We decided to take a bus tour to Milford Sound rather than make the 2 hour drive. We both wanted to enjoy the scenery which turned out to be as good as Milford Sound itself. The day started out somewhat foggy but by the time we were a half hour into our tour, the fog cleared and the sun came out. More fabulous scenery – more sheep, more mountains, more lakes and rivers, more valleys – the ride was never boring. Much of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series were filmed here. Every turn reminded us of a scene from the movies. Amazing!!
Milford Sound was everything that was promised. The sun was shining, the water was calm, the waterfalls were wet and we loved every minute of it!! Hopefully the pictures and videos capture the essence of the day.
So, we’re relaxing with a glass of wine, updating the blog and making ourselves a couple of sandwiches for supper. Tomorrow, we start the trek north. We should be on the North Island by Tuesday afternoon. I think that I can speak for both of us when I say that we are so happy that we made the choice to head south for a few days.