Rain, rivers and waterfalls
Hope you're all enjoying a good start to 2009! We spent Jan 2nd visiting Arrowtown, a little town just north of Queenstown. It had a very wild west feel, probably as it was originally a gold mining settlement...has actually only been there since 1860!
Had a wander round the original Chinese gold miners settlement for a bit of culture and then set off on one of the walking trails which leads out of the town into the 'bush'. We thought we were on the Arrow river trail (a 40 min meander by the river) but ended up climbing higher and higher and eventually realised we were on the perilous Sawpit Gully trail! Good views over the Arrow River but decided to turn back before certain death and as we were in need of coffee and a cake!
The following day we headed south-west to Te Anau which is basically a stop on the way to Milford Sound- one of the must-see spots in NZ. Our hostel was part of a holiday park- all a bit carry on camping but served our purpose!
Redneck Rusty Haynes here judging by the above photo, Milford Sound is amazing. The road to get through to this 1/2 horse town was only completed in 1983!! We have to drive for about 2-2 1/2 hours and literally see nothing apart from awesome country, no towns nothing! We have a stop off at Mirror Lakes which reflect the snow topped peaks in such a way it looks like staring into a silver mirror. This place is amazing, we then reach the Homer Tunnel which is where the road builders came to the foot of some massive mountains in the middle of nowhere and made the sensible choice of going straight through them!! It is a hole in the side of a mountain just about big enough for a bus to get through!
Anyway arrive at the Sound and it is quite simply stunning, we pile off the coach and onto the boat and within 5 mins we are joined by the below swimming next to us.
We sail out into the middle of this vast inlet from the Tasmin Sea and the even though an eldritch fog has enveloped the place it has a magic feel to it, with rushing waterfalls and Seals and Birdlife.
We sail all round this right to the point it joins the Tasmin sea then back again and get back on the Coach for the return journey which this time stops at.....Dun Dun Duuuuunnnn....The Chasm. This turns out to be a short walk through the lushest green rainforest to another amazing waterfall.
When we get back after all the excitement the only thing that can help is a few beers! Love to you all miss you lots and will catch up soon! Russ N Cath