Milford Sound – Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
It is raining – again! Fortunately the rain stops before 10 am today, so we finally get to see the lovely river we are camping at and actually end up making our morning coffee from – as our water tank is empty. On our way to Milford, we get to see some breathtaking views over river valleys and snow peaked mountains. This country is really, really, really beautiful.
On our short stop before we dare to enter the not-so-much-safe-looking one-way tunnel, we meet a noisy bunch of Kea – New Zealand parrots – that end up sitting on the roof of our van, waiting to be fed.
In Milford, we board the giant blue cruise ship together with about 150 other travelers and head out along the sound and towards the sea. Actually, after all the crazily beautiful scenery we saw over the last days, the Milford sound with cliffs, water falls, seals and bottle green vegetation does not impress us as much as we had expected. Our highlight on this cruise is below the water’s surface: the underwater observatory, which we visit on the way back, allows us to see up close the rare Black Corals and some cute little fishes that actually come to the windows when you wave at them. (Note from Elys: this observatory is cool cos it’s 4 of the 5 stories in the building is actually underwater. And due to the mixture of the salt and fresh water here, marine life of deeper depth actually exist here in the shallow, ie. Black Coral).
Tonight, we start the long drive up to Queenstown, which actually means that we have to go all the way back to Te Anau and then drive up into the mountains again. We stop about 70 km short of Queenstown and park the van on a rest area under some trees. Without any water on board, we have pancakes for dinner tonight. Yummy!