Monday, January 05, 2009

Our Friend Milford

December 23, 2008...

So, back to Milford Sound... the most beautiful place on earth, and the name of Erin's future child.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
It has been judged the world's top travel destination in an international survey, and is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World.
(This panoramic shot is thanks to Lowell's photography skills & technical expertise! (click on it to see larger view))

Sheer rock faces that rise up to 1700 metres surround the waters that dolphins, seals, and penguins inhabit. These fiords were carved out by glaciers as they made their way into the Tasman Sea.

We experienced a clear, sunny day which was lucky as this rainforest area usually gets at least 200 days of rain per year. The blue skies and sunshine made the much-anticipated boat cruise through the Sounds all the more worthwhile. I didn't actually join the crew on this particular little tour as I feared motion sickness which pills don't even touch. No need to pity me though- everything was also beautiful from land, and I'm planning on doing a kayak trip through the Sounds at some point (Marc & Kylie?!) which is bound to be just as delightful.

*disclaimer: pictures do NOT do this place justice*

Dolphins are only sighted on 5% of trips, but lo and behold... the kids got lucky!

A little seal colony was also spotted...

As well as a Kiwi Santa (which, by definition, is a regular Santa with sunglasses on)...

After the marvelous little cruisey, we decided to hike a few random trails in the area. As we were driving on the narrow, windy, gravelly roads, Lowell warned me to be cautious. He had just finished his little fatherly lecture when, I kid you not, we rounded a corner and came upon this:

Apparently the roads ARE a little dodgey! Good thing I'm in the general pracise of listening to and obeying my husband:)

The Chasm was the first trail on the list. Erin, not surprisingly, spontaneously struck out in acrobatic poses (on several occasions). She plays University basketball... no wonder she pulls off such athletic positions!

View from the trail...

Siblings/cousin standing on the bridge above the chasm (we have no identifiable pictures of the actual chasm because the lighting was HORRIFIC) :

Erin showing of her athletic prowess at the end of the trail...

On the way to the next little trail, we went through a 1.5km long tunnel called "The Homer Tunnel". Apparently it "represents a major feat of engineering achieved under difficult and dangerous conditions." The construction of this tunnel was prompted by, surprise surprise, TOURISM. It was a long, dark tunnel.

Directly outside the tunnel was Homer Tunnel Nature Walk.

Across the road from the trail, we spotted attainable snow!

As we were blazing to our snowy destination, we spotted a Kea bird trying to eat it's way through the window of a car that was waiting to drive through the tunnel.

And now let's move right along to the other side of the road...

I longed to make a snowman, but the snow was not snowman material. Ah well, I'll have plenty of opportunities to make snowmen NEXT Christmas!

From the lovely Sounds, we headed back to Queenstown via Arrowtown. Arrowtown is a highly raved-about town, but unfortunately we arrived when everything but a dingey bar was closed. Too bad. So sad. Maybe next time...

We spent the night at the Flaming Kiwi hostel...

Then headed to Glenorchy (where part of Lord of the Rings was filmed!). We ate at a cafe with a magnificent view...

Then hiked to Lake Sylvan.

Oh, let me explain the t-shirts for a moment. These are the $2 tops included with the bungy. We pulled them over our little tank tops to provide some much needed reprieve from the intense UV. We've made fun of the cheapo shirts mercilessly, but secretly I kinda like them (don't tell anyone).

Cousins skipping through the forest:

And here we are at (or rather IN) Lake Sylvan:

Our trip to Glenorchy was short and sweet as we had a 5pm flight to catch back to Auckland. Driving through the South Island we noticed many many sheep (more so than on the North Island)...

And many many MANY wild flowers...

We caught our flight in the nick of time, then fell asleep in our Auckland beds dreaming of Christmas Day on the beach.

Next up: Boxing Day on the beach...

6 comments :

Avery said...

That looks absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could join you on your kayak through Milford sound and on your many hikes!

Alisha said...

So you'd get seasick on the boat cruise boat, but you wouldn't in a kayak? I know you've been in a kayak before... please explain...

Bloggy Mama said...

Jaw. On. Floor.

Lowell & Julie said...

Ave- we'd LOVE it if you could join us!!

Alisha- I don't get sick on motorboat-type boats b/c they're fast & airy (not the big rolling movements) & I get splashed with refreshing water. I don't get sick on kayaks b/c I'M IN CONTROL (for the most part:)! Same goes for driving. If I'm in any seat other than the driver's seat (i.e., not in control), I get sick. Motion sickness is NO FUN!!

Liz- I'm not surprised:)

Anonymous said...

Wow look at all those comments flowing in...what a beautiful sight eh Julie Renee?

I think it is kinda funny that you didn't include Erin's pose in the Mountiain Lupins (are you impressed, I found out the name in the airport today on a postcard) as she was the one that was so obsessed with them. :o)

Yup Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places on earth...actually New Zealand in general is the most beautiful place on earth!

Julie Anne

Lowell & Julie said...

Yes JAJ, comments are a BEAUTIFUL sight;)

I didn't post a new picture of Erin with the flowers (or the 'Mountain Lupins' as you so impressively named them!) b/c I already did a post with her and the flowers, and it was such a stunning picture that it just couldn't be topped...wouldn't you agree? OUR poses with the last set of flowers, however, were ridiculous, so this is our time to shine;)