Hi all.... Well here we are camping ("glamping" really....glamour camping) next to the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, which runs all the way from Kingston in the south to Queenstown in the north.
After spending our first night just outside Christchurch we headed off early the next morning and drove to Mount Cook, New Zealands highest mountain at 3,754 meters!!! The scenery along the way was truly spectacular and driving next to some of the lakes and rivers along the way are overwhelmingly beautiful!!!
Unfortunately the peak of Mount Cook was partially covered in cloud so we never got a clear view, but it was still worth the long drive to get there! Heading out we were driving over an old bridge and I wound down the window on Guds side for her to take a photo.... Next thing we knew our map flew out the window and was gone....into the river way below! We had to laugh it happened so fast!!!!
On the way to our campsite just outside Omarama we made one last worthwhile stop to see "The Clay Cliffs". These were some amazing features formed as the water washed through a clay valley over 2 million years ago.... Quite amazing and something you may expect to find in the Grand Canyon in the USA.
The next morning we set off toward Milford Sound driving over some incredible mountain passes and finally through a single lane tunnel to get through the massive mountains that isolate Milford Sound from the rest of the world. It's so remote there is no radio, cell phone or internet access! Even our Iridium satellite phone had intermittent reception. This place sits at 45 degrees South so is in between the rouring 40s and furious 50s.... Getting some pretty tough weather. We arrived in the afternoon and checked into the only campsite there that is situated alongside the river that flows into the fjord. A Very pretty area indeed!
This morning we woke up early again to catch the first boat tour out into the fjord at 9am. Guds and I were last here over 20 years ago, and back then there was only 1 boat doing this tour, and the town had a population of 12. There are now about 8 tour boats and I am guessing at least 100 people living in Milford Sound. Never the less it was truly just as breathtaking and we were in awe at the sheer scale of the fjord. It's over 200 meters deep, and waterfalls scattered everywhere along the sheer cliffs and mountains that plunge into the deep icy water. The boat tour was 2 hours long and we could not stop taking photo after photo. I am not looking forward to sorting through those pics to try and select "the best of" for a later blog post.... yikes!!!!
By 11.30am we left Milford Sound and headed towards Queenstown. A few stops along the side of the road for more spectacular scenery, coffee and lunch etc, and we arrived at our camping spot for tonight. We found a lovely flattish piece of land next to the huge lake Wakatipu and just stopped, broke out the camper chairs and a beer and glass of wine, and voila.... That's were we will spend the night "free of charge" if you forget the $300/night cost of the campervan 😉.....oh well.... You only live once!!!!!
The kids had a great time along the waters edge of the lake building a small harbour out of sand, rocks and sticks, while mom and dad enjoyed a cold one and planned the next few days. Eventually Gabs and I went for a swim in the icy cold lake.... Very refreshing and invigorating.... But oh soooo cold...
So that's our update for now. As an aside for those that follow our tracker, we brought the Iridium satellite device with us, and have it turned on most of the time, so you may see some "highspeed" tracks across the south island :)
Cheers from a sunny but cold New Zealand!!!!