Day off today or at least we can do what we want. So lets go for a helicopter ride eh. We all booked what we wanted to do yesterday. The heli hike seemed a bit strenuous for me (you would have loved it Bob up the glacier with those crampon things on 🙂 ) As we didn’t get our flight over Milford sound we had some money coming back to us so I picked the 40 min flight around mount Cook. Time of my life is all I can say. We took off about 9.00 and the weather was beautiful. Flew up Franz Joseph Glacier then up to Fox Glacier then round Mount Cook and Mount Tasmen. Fabulous scenery so close. Then we land on Fox at the top, climb out and walk around. How cool is that !!!!!!! Without a doubt the high lite of the tour. Wind wasn’t to bad but Craig the pilot did say only 1 in 3 days was good for flying. You don’t realize the enormity of what you are standing on until you see the fly specs of the other choppers on the glacier. Awesome. Thats my shoes standing on the glacier heh heh.
We headed back down the Franz Glacier and home. What an experience. That afternoon Ron took us up to Okarito Nature reserve where we hiked around the sea side and the local area. Very Beautiful and very hot. From there we went to The Franz Joseph Glacier view point as Some hadn’t done the helicopter flight. Why is everything up hill in this country !!! Then back to the hotel and dinner in the Alice May again. (Nice restaurant) Breakfast in bed to even nicer.
All in all the best day ever lol.
Watch here and be amazed
So out of sleepy Wanaka we set. (Well everyone else always seems to be in bed when we leave?……..) Long old trip up to Franz Josef. So probably a boring coach day…..Not if Ron’s got anything to do with it 😉 Quick Coffee at lake Hawea and on we trundle. Stopping for an early lunch I grab a ham sarni and a bag of crisps, then go get a bottle of cider at the bar (well it is 11.30 BLAH) Just as we are about to leave a 1930 ish bugati turns up asking about petrol. Looks like there’s a rally somewhere as we see at least another 10 or 12 all traveling in the same direction. Boy do they look uncomfortable.
Stopping at various photo shoot spots along the way we continue our way up. Thundercreek falls is one of these. There are so many beautiful falls and streams its difficult to stop taking pictures lol. On to Ship creek. The small river here acquired another name – Ship Creek, after part of a ship was washed up on the beach. This was believed to be part of the Schomberg which was wrecked off Cape Otway, Victoria, in 1854. The Schomberg was a 2600-ton clipper on her maiden voyage – the largest wooden ship ever launched from a British yard. At least that’s what it said on the plaque. At this point I looked down and spotted the kamikaze flies. Run………..to late. Well I’m not going in that area again…..covered in bites after removing them all. Watch out for the sand flies on the beach too……why did we stop here lol. Lots of wood carvings on the beach or rather broken trees. Lets go…
Into Franz we fly just in time for Happy hour at the Alice May. Unload into the Punga Motel and into the bar. The rest is a blur…..
Half a free day today. Well for everyone else. I got picked up by Nomad safaris at 8.30am and headed out into the LOTR mountains and bush. First stop The remarkables mountain range, or for us the Misty Mountains. (The mountains were named The Remarkables by Alexander Garvie in 1857-58, allegedly because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south) After taking pictures of the stunning views and relating some film scenes to the surrounding area headed of to Kawaru river. Paul our guide had loads of stories about filming and had loads of jokes about aussies lol. The van was a Land rover defender with a number plate Smaugs. So i should have seen what was coming. After looking down on the bungy jumping bridge from very high we saw the Spot that the scenes from Amon hen where filmed, minus statues. Then onto Arrowtown and the gold river. As Paul said all roads are 2 lane national highways with max speed of 100km per hour. You got to be kidding…after the water went over the bonnet I was getting worried lol. Stopped and saw where they filmed the Nazgul river scene…apparently they took all the stones from the river and laid down a rubber mat so the horses could run, then put all the stones back….phew. Then we panned for gold.
So Ive got to come home as I didn’t find any. (only dust). After another jaw breaking run down the stream we headed out to skipper pass another of those national Roads lol. Sheer cliff one side and straight down the other. This is where the miners used to bring in there mules and kit, all 50000 of them. The Road took 9 years to build and by the time they finished it the Gold rush was over. Back to Queenstown and the bus. Thanks Nomad, great tour, love the number plates!!
Back to the bus and off to Wanaka. Stopped off for a beer at The grubbiest looking hotel in the west but inside was a lovely bar. reminded me of an English fine dinning bar. Beers where on Ron…Cheers.
Into Wanaka and booked in, then off to dinner at a local house. Well mansion I should say. Thanks for a loverly dinner guys. gonna get some of those sweet potatoes or rather kumara, for sure. Bed time thank God!!!
Well the earliest start yet. 6.00am breakfast then on the bus at 7 and off we set on a 4 hr journey to the sea. First coffee stop at a road side cafe that I don’t remember as i was snoring lol. Then onto Te anu. Quick stop for a bite to eat even if it is only 10am. more like a coffee and pick up a pie for later. Pies are quite common in these parts and quite tasty. Not that I would eat the venison ones as every time we passed a field of deer I thought of Bambi !!
Plan A was coach to Milford sound and fly back to Queenstown from the airfield there, but it was plain that this was less likely to happen by the hour. A front was coming in. Wind, rain and mist. 2 hrs later we came upon the Fiordland national Park wherein Milford sound resides. Lovely scenery then through the tunnel dug through some of the hardest rock around, which is y its probably only one lane. Reached Milford sound (Named after Milford haven in wales) and got our 1.00pm sailing. A tour of the sound reveled it to actually be a fijord and as Rudyard Kipling once said the eight wonder of the world. With the rain the waterfalls down the sheer cliffs, which rise more than 1200 m each side, where spectacular to say the least. The forests climbing these cliffs where just amazing. Birds and seals dotted the water and when we reached the sea and turned round I watched it all again with eager fascination.
Once we got back to land it was clear that it would be a coach home as the rain came down in sheets. If you saw the sheer cliffs either side of the airfield you would know why there was no flights in or out. 4 hours later we got back to Queenstown a sandwich and bed as I had a long day tomorrow. Would I do that 8 hrs on a coach again to see such a sight? of course. Its a Historical site and something that I would have regretted for the rest of my life if I had missed it.
Why do we always wait for the storm to pass when we can learn to dance in the rain…