A Travellerspoint blog

Mount Cook in the sunshine

Ignore the NZ weather forecasters!

sunny 27 °C
View 2011 - Samoa, NZ, Hawaii, USA on neilthelr's travel map.

We had one shot at seeing Mount Cook in the sun so we started the day with everything crossed. We left QT early to get to Mount Cook for a walk. It was overcast all the way and when we stopped for lunch we got talking to a couple who’d cut their losses and left Mount Cook an hour before as it had been raining for 2 days. We were not hopeful, particularly as we could see the clouds shrouding it. However, we were booked in and we were going regardless! And we’re glad we did. It was windy but as we headed out for the 3hr walk it got clearer and clearer (and as we type this over dinner at 9pm we can still see Mount Cook bathed in sunshine) so we got some fantastic views and pictures in the 30 °C heat. Helen managed to slip and fall in a stream; only 1 foot and no bruises to show. And as we were heading back to ‘camp’, we bumped in to the couple from earlier, who’d driven to Tekapo, seen the weather over Mount Cook and drove the hour back. They were pleased they did. Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain at over 3700m high, which makes it small by world standards, but no less treacherous as the monument to all those that had lost their life in the mountains that we passed on our walk attests to. The loop gets completed tomorrow as we head north back to Christchurch. And this time we’ll actually see a few things!

Posted by neilthelr 21:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains Comments (0)

We’ve never done that in a car before

But we both enjoyed it!

sunny 17 °C
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At about the same time on our journey from Te Anau to Queenstown, Helen and I had a sudden urge overcome us both. She was driving at the time but we had to pull over and find a secluded spot and do it: sleep that is. We just reclined the seats and had a nap for an hour and felt all the better for it. And I’d like to think we were observing the New Zealand government’s warning signs that say “TIRED DRIVERS DIE!” I guess the travelling has finally caught up with us old-timers.

Posted by neilthelr 21:18 Archived in New Zealand Tagged driving Comments (0)

Fiordland….wow!

Wow, wow and wow!

sunny 21 °C
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More of that later! From Te Anau we took a leisurely drive to Milford Sound. We avoided the coaches full of tourists by starting a little later than them and stopped where we wanted to. If you ever drive this road, take your time. It’s simply stunning. There are numerous sights along the way, the Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn and the Humboldt Falls being particular favourites. However, The Chasm was probably the best for it’s unusualness (is that a word?). The point of the trip was Milford Sound and staying overnight on it though. It’s worth it as the coaches disappear mid-afternoon, just as we arrived. We sailed at 4:30 out to the mouth of the sound (although it’s actually a fiord – not a sound), which takes you to the Tasman Sea. If you look hard enough you can see the western island of New Zealand (Australia)! We had a really nice evening on-board, sharing a table with some Aussies. The food was good, the wine nice but the views…… The previous evening it had poured down, for us it was crystal clear and the sun was out. Not bad considering it rains there 200 days of the year. We slept soundly (get it?!), saw dolphins over breakfast and then sailed back out to the Tasman Sea before heading back to dock. No words can sum this place up; hopefully the pictures will. By comparison, the following day was dull…just a drive back to Queenstown via Te Anau for our luggage. And, if you ever need proof of how small the world is, the lady that ran the B&B in Te Anau was from Guildford and we bumped in to a couple from Downham Market on the boat and the same ones back in Te Anau. Our parents will get that reference! Oh yeah, and Finz (Seafood Restaurant) in QT is recommended. Next stop Mount Cook.

Posted by neilthelr 21:17 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains lakes Comments (0)

The theme was broken

until we arrived in Te Anau

rain 17 °C
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Today's a bit of a holding day. It's just a trip from Queentown to Te Anau where we overnight before heading to Milford Sound. The journey didn't involve rain! In fact, we sat outside at Manapouri and had a cup of tea and cake. Very English! The journey down here is best described as 'scenic'. It involves lots of mountains in differing ranges and as we sit and type this (using the free wireless connection we weren't expecting) we have a fantastic view of Mount Luxmore. It's just being viewed through the drizzle that started when we got here. The place we're staying is lovely though; our hosts friendly and welcoming. We're just going to 'hang out' rather than brave the weather.

Posted by neilthelr 18:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged travel Comments (0)

The Rumble in Queenstown

Man & machine vs fence!

semi-overcast 23 °C
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The fence won! A day in Queenstown today. The outlook was gloomy so we put on a couple of layers to do our Segway tour. We had this vision of there being quite a lot of them around town but the two of us plus our instructor Chris were the only ones. Some people smiled at us whist we were going around, others stared like they'd just seen the wheel for the first time and others just laughed! It was good fun though and surprisingly easy to control, right up to the point where Neil was being too nice to a pedestrian, moved over slightly too much, collided with the fence and went over the handlebars. The result: a cut to the left knee, a large lump on the right shin, a scrape to the left elbow and right wrist, and a very swollen little finger on the right hand, which is black and bruised. All from a 5 mph crash; he’s been less damaged falling off a bike at greater speeds (don’t worry mum, I’m fine). He could nurse the wounds in the nice sun this afternoon though when we took the opportunity to sit by the largest lake in NZ (Wakatipu - it rises and falls 12 to 20cm every 27mins) with a coffee, some cake and enjoyed listening to the busker. Who could actually sing! The other up side was the ability to have a nice shower, Helen could have a bath for the first time on the trip (not her first wash though!!) and we could get a stack of washing done for free. Considering Queenstown is the adventure capital of NZ, we’ve taken the relaxed approach, choosing to chill and enjoy the town, which is nicer than expected.

Posted by neilthelr 22:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged sightseeing Comments (0)

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