Sarah and I have become Queens of the highways. With Sunny as our chariot and our tent “Castle II,” we have journeyed along some of New Zealand’s most scenic routes. And, being royalty of rad roadtrips, it only makes sense that our first stop is…
The screams from the bungi jumpers (skydivers/jetboaters/paragliders) can be heard frmo the car as we finish the mountain road from Wanaka. Its no surprise, considering this is the adrenaline capital of the universe. What is surprising is that I (and my rapidly shrinking wallet) is not tempted at all – Africa out-adrenalined me, at least for now.
Instead, we indulge in some smashing nights out and some free nights accom – courtesy of Sarah’s university friend, Dave. Thanks Dave! We couldn’t resist one awesome adrenaline activity though – the Shotover Jet. This powerful jet boat zips through narrow canyons, doing 360degree spins at 80 km/h. Only one word can sum up this experience: sweeeet. And the guy’s who drive the boats must have the best jobs in the world.
Queenstown wouldn’t be Queenstown without a pulse-racing, heart-attack inducing game of frisbee golf! There is a fully laid-out frisbee golf course in the botanic gardens, complete with tees and baskets for holes. I joined in with the Stray bus crew who were there and me and Lofty came thisclose to winning. Ok, so it wasn’t that close, but it was fun!
The highway to Milford Sound is a world heritage road – ideal for a roadtrip! Driving through Fiordland National Park is a magical experience. We stopped at mirrored lakes, long tunnels and at every beautiful vista along the way.
Arriving at Milford, the sun was shining and the sky a picture perfect blue. Our booking was for a boat cruise the following morning. But not wanting to miss out on such a stunning day, we allowed our characteristic spontaneity to get the best of us and did it right away. It was so worth it. We saw sealions, bottlenose dolphins and got ducked under a waterfall the equivalent in height of a 50-storey building.
Gliding along Milford Sound is supposed to be a defining moment for anyone’s trip to New Zealand. Once again, as we have come to expect, the hype does not disappoint. It’s hard to imagine a place more breathtaking – Mitre Peak rising out of sparkling waters, the glacier atop Mt. Pembroke still clinging to life after millions of years. It is going to disappear within the next decade. It is, after all, Milford Fiord, not Milford Sound. Sounds are carved out by rivers; fiords, by glaciers. The glaciers recede, and maybe one day they will come back.
The Road is Long…
Today we completed the Southern Scenic route from start (Te Anau) to finish (Dunedin). We didn’t exactly mean to… we meant to stop at Stewart Island. But Stewart Island was full and we hadn’t booked accomodation (smart, I know), so we zipped through the rugged Catlans Coast to Dunedin. The roads were twisted and Sunny often struggled against the wind, but we made it through. The next few days will see us head up to the highest peak in New Zealand: Mt. Cook. Looks like we might need a few more blankets inside good old Castle II. Like any castle, it is plenty drafty in there, and Sarah and I often wake up with noses frozen to our pillows.
And hopefully, a shorter drive day tomorrow.