Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | February 24, 2011

Our last week in Dunedin and a trip to New Zealand’s Milford Sound. Milford Sound, New Zealand.

As previously reported we had a week to go on our latest HelpX assignment. This week I took over on the computer as I had a cold (poor me).

I started to tick off the jobs that we were a bit apprehensive about doing – carpeting and tiling. I’m not famed for my handyman skills, but I’ve never really given that much of a go, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out. I had to use carpet tacks to fix a carpet that was a bit loose and dangerous, and I did a pretty good job.

I think you enjoyed making a lot of noise with the hammering.

It’s true! After that I tiled an area around the new shower. I wouldn’t let myself loose on my own bathroom floor with something like that, but our host family showed great faith in me and I was determined to do a good job. I prepared the floor, cut the tiles and everything. Here’s what it looked like when I was done.

Looks good doesn't it?

Looks good doesn't it?

Only joking – this is what it really looked like:

Much better!

Much better!

As well as that, we crammed in some fun times at the amazing Tunnel Beach.

Tunnel Beach

Tunnel Beach

And we went swimming in a heated saltwater pool. I thought it was a bit nippy but the locals were complaining that it was too hot.

You are such a delicate little flower.

Hey! I like it warm, that’s all.

One of the highlights was our whole host family getting up early to watch the Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League game. They were more into watching us screaming at the tv than watching the game but when that second Arsenal goal went in the whole room erupted!

Us in jumping around the room kissing each other joy, our host family in laughter at us, but it’s all good. Can’t wait for the second leg, as long as we can find a place to watch it.

We left Dunedin on a bus with no air-conditioning and arrived at our next destination Queenstown absolutely sweltering, but the bus driver drove us to the door of our hostel – Butterfli Lodge – to make it up to us, which was jolly nice of him.

Queenstown is touted as the adventure capital of New Zealand which made me think it was going to be a Cairns-esque rip-off town full of thrill-seeking, culturally-inept idiots, but turns out I was the idiot

Surprise!

as it was actually really beautiful and full of nice people. Happy days. As soon as we arrived I insisted we find a place that sells Monteiths, so off we went and found Brazz, which was nice. Then we went to the Pig and Whistle where there was an Irish couple playing acoustic covers. They were really good, so we stayed in there for the evening as the only two audience members not working.

The next day I had to wake up to this:

It's too bloody early!

It's too bloody early!

because we were going to Milford Sound for the day.

And it is a looooooooong day. We caught the bus at 7.30am and got off the bus at 8.00pm, but it was so worth it.

I was up extra early to make the sandwiches for the day. While I was doing that some German guy popped his head into the kitchen and said “bye” so I said “see you later” and he said “I don’t think so. I’m leaving today.”

Who said Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

We had a brilliant driver on the Milford Sound trip who knew an amazing amount of farm-based facts, telling us all about how to kill rabbits and catch stoats. He also, inexplicably, said everything twice, sometimes three times. For example, “on your left is Halfway Bay. On the left Halfway Bay. Halfway Bay. Yup.” but he was a really nice, really enthusiastic chap.

I thought he was full of shit at first though. One of the first things he said when we got on the bus was “Don’t worry about the weather, it’s always good at Milford Sound. Always good at the Milford Sound” at which point it started raining and we couldn’t see any of the things he was pointing out to us. I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be a wasted day, but as it turned out I needn’t have worried.

The mountains leading up the sound and the sound itself (which is actually a fiord, but, like our ancestors who named the area we don’t really understand the difference) are all solid rock which means when it rains the water runs off them, making lots of waterfalls. It meant we had to get a bit wet to go outside and see them, but it was so so so worth it.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr...but worth it

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr...but worth it

After ages on the bus seeing all the waterfalls we made it to Milford Sound and got on a boat to take us around. We kicked off with lunch inside then went up to the outdoor deck for a proper view.

Just as we got there it started getting really windy and wet so almost everyone went inside again, meaning we got a really good spot right at the front of the boat.

The wind and rain were incredible. Apparently the storms at sea come whistling up the narrow gorges and get super intense at the bit we were in. We were going face-first into winds of 80 knots which sounds nasty but was actually really exhilerating.

We stayed upstairs toughing it out and that meant we had the best spots for seeing the waterfalls along the way. We got an exceptionally good view of the last one as they sail right into it! We got completely soaked and frozen but it was absolutely brilliant. They must have seen what a good time the hardcore crew on the front were having because they sailed back into it again. The water was so powerful and cold it stung your face and we couldn’t breathe, which again sounds horrible but was actually completely amazing and something we’ll never forget.

Especially as we took so many photos!

Queenstown was great, even without jumping off a bridge or out of a plane. This morning we arrived in Wanaka, about an hour and a half up the road. We started writing this blog post because it was rainy and our room wasn’t ready, but now it’s sunny and our room is ready so we’re off for more fun and adventure!

That’s everything for now.

Everything for now.

Yup.

Yup.

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