Milford Sound and unexpected trip to the east coast
29.11.2008 - 03.12.2008 20 °C
After leaving Queenstown we took the (relatively) short drive to Te Anau. There is not much here but it is a good base from which to get to Milford Sound. While we were in Te Anau we did take a boat trip across the lake to the glow worm caves.
The next day we drove up to Milford Sound passing some stunning scenery and a tunnel where the traffic lights only change every 15 minutes, unfortutunately we caught it on red. As we waited some very large & cheeky parrots (Kea) attacked the cars that were waiting.
We had heard a lot about Milford Sound and it did not disappoint. It was slightly wet and misty but we could still see it's beauty, it is very rare to get the clear sunny day that appears on all of the postcards. This was our first penguin viewing, we also saw seals and some spectacular waterfalls coming off the high cliffs that rise up from the waters edge.
After Milford Sound we had reached the end of our planned itinerary a whole two days ahead of schedule, so we decided to freestyle and head east over to Dunedin.
While here we saw wild albatross landing and nesting at the edge of the Otago Peninsula and then took a walk up Baldwin Street, according to the Guiness Book of Records is the steepest street in the world at 1 in 1.266.
On our second day we took a scenic train ride along the Taieri Gorge Railway through tunnels and over many viaducts and gorges.
That afternoon we headed towards Christchurch but stopped on the way at Oamaru where we saw the Moeraki Boulders. These are huge perfectly spherical rocks on the beach. There are no guides or information points to explain how the boulders got there, we thought of a number of theories from alien eggs to volcanic lava hardening in zero gravity as they fell. We did find the real explanation but it is not as much fun.
Oamaru was a very small town but is a great place to view colonies of Yellow Eyed & Blue penguins coming out of the water and nesting on the beaches. We could not take any photos as this would scare them away, so we have 'borrowed' some images from wikipedia.
Once we arrived in Christchrch we had a walk around the city centre, had a lovely lunch in a place called Sticky Fingers and then had a few drinks by the river in the sun. Nice city and a very chilled out afternoon.