**IPhone blogging here. Spelling/grammar mistakes. To be read at your own risk.
We woke up to rain this morning in our plush hotel in Queenstown. Man have we been lucky with weather so far. If this rain were here just yesterday we wouldn’t have been able to go on the quads. That’s luck.
After an early breakfast we piled into Ernie for a long drive. “How long?” Asked Kellen.
“Yep, a long one” answered Tess in true Tess form. If the answer isn’t “just 20 minutes” then it’s something totally noncommittal . The only other answer we get to questions is “undulating”.
Normally I can’t stand long drives. I want to get to my destination in the quickest time possible no matter what. But it’s different here. We are constantly surrounded by beauty. Plus Ernie makes lots of pit stops in cute little towns for us to use the loo and stretch our legs. It really breaks up the long drives.
After a while (20 minutes?) the rain let up for a bit and the most spectacular rainbow appeared in full form. But the most incredible thing happened. We found the end of it! Who ever truly finds the end of a rainbow, pot of gold and all? We did! (Photo taken after we collected the pot.)
Driving into the Fiordland National Park is just insane. There are massive mountains of granite slabs on either side of the road and due to all the rain, literally hundreds of waterfalls everywhere you look.
We drove through this really long, dark, craggy tunnel while Ernie blasted music from Lord of the Rings. It was PERFECT.
Our first stop was to do a short walk around Mirror Lakes. It was rainy but didn’t matter. In fact, the clouds and water gave it a mystical vibe.
The big hike up the Routeburn Track was next. This is the one I had been nervous about. But a miracle happened. The leg fairy came last night and brought me new ones. I had put my old worn out legs under my pillow and it really worked! I felt great!
Back on the bus Laura had us pick from a menu so our dinner could be preordered tonight. The quinoa salad sounded good but I never heard of halloumi cheese.
“Oh you know halloumi, it’s squeaky cheese”. Ah, clarity.
Next we drove a bit more and stopped at another spot to hike to another amazing waterfall. Every track we climb seems more enchanted than the next. It is no wonder “The Lord of the Rings” was filmed in New Zealand. I swear if I saw an elf come darting across the track, I wouldn’t even be that surprised.
When we finished we climbed into Ernie.
“Everyone here?” asked Tess.
“Yes!” we all answered, and off we went.
After just a minute or two Rich says in his most casual voice, “Sorry to interrupt but I have a quick question for you Tess.”
“Yes Rich, what is it?” said Tess.
“Where’s Borut?” and poor Ernie came to a screeching halt. We left Borut. Now the problem was that we were on a very narrow 2-lane road with no place to turn around. So Superhero-Laura (Guide) jumped out and ran back to the lot to collect Borut.
“I’m never going to be the last one back to Ernie” laughed Borut.
“Damn, I almost got my own room joked Rich”
“Borut, next time speak up if you’re not here, sheesh!” said Griffin.
Tess felt so bad but we all had to really rub it in because it was so funny.
The only unlucky thing today was that Kellen got a wonky stomach and spent our hikes resting in Ernie. He couldn’t eat anything so we knew it was pretty bad. This is not a kid who skips meals.
Lots of short stops for walks and pictures then over to the only accommodation in Milford Sound where travelers can stay: The Milford Lodge. We were expecting a no-frills backpacking lodge but this place is super nice. Every room has incredible views. I just wish we had a wee bit more time to enjoy it here. 6:30am we start tomorrow. I love these action packed filled days, this is totally my style. We can rest on the flight home.
Togs- bathing suit
Halloumi- squeaky cheese
Squeaky Cheese- has consistency of tofu, a bit salty, fries up firm- “DEE-licious”as Tess would say.