Thursday, April 23, 2009

Milford Sound

Early yesterday morning, Mum and I got up whilst it was still dark, to be picked up by coach at our hotel, for our trip to Milford Sound. 5 hours on the bus down over and across to the Fjordland of New Zealand, we had a very chatty bus driver all the way....but with spectacular scenery!

Our bus had a glass roof, allowing us to take in not just the forests and lakes, and mountain ranges around us, but also above us...which it was for a large portion of the trip.

Getting down to the Sound, and boarding our cruise out on the water, and a little lap out on the Tasman Sea, the landscape is breathtaking. Glaciers above, waterfalls meeting us, and snow-capped fjords towering all around us. Standing out on the deck in the sun and chilly, fresh air was amazing.

A very long day, with the 5 hour trip back, we had a quick dinner when we returned to Queenstown, before calling it a day.

This morning I got up and ventured up the Queenstown Gondola, for views of the town, lake and surrounding mountain ranges. Up there before the crowds, I took in the cloud covered Remarkables, across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks, and then finally the clouds parted to allow me to see Coronet Peek, where I had launched from to Hang Glide.

After another loop of town in the car, Mum and I dropped off the car and checked in for our flight up here to Wellington. On a little propeller plane, we managed to select the left side of the plane to allow us to view to top of Mt Cook, from above the cloud cover. We got to take in the vast mountain ranges all the way up the South Island, before seeing the Cook Strait pass under us, for us to arrive on the North Island.

Checking into our hotel, we walked over to the National War Memorial, for a little recci for the Dawn Service...and lucky we did! The service on Saturday is actually elsewhere, and in a much better place for our planned impossible Service and then train combo! Taking in the Carillon, and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the inside of this building is gorgeous, being the Hall of Memories.

We walked down further to Te Papa, after seeing that the Monet and The Impressionists exhibit is currently on display. I joined the queue, and then wandered around the rooms of the show, displaying works by Monet from early days, to his Haystacks and Waterlilies.

Back out into the fading light over the harbour, we walked along the waterfront, and then through town, before a quick dinner. I have just walked up through Cuba Mall to find loads of Cuba related cafes and restaurants...cute!

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