So up and packed, breakfasted on our supply of goodies and were off. So much to do before we could leave. Alan and I had decided we would buy the camera for me as I was not happy going to this great place without a camera. We got that, after spending ages on the net at the Te anau Library (which was free)
Camera bought, Petrol topped up in the car and tramping supplies (LOL) we were off.
Nothing could have prepared us for the amazing journey we had. The views spectacular and as the cloud and rain disappeared, the steam on the road was incredible, the snow, everything was just breath takingly beautiful. We passed reflection pools and so many amazing sites. Saw more of the Kea birds (the local bush parrott) Such a funny bird and heaps more.
As we climbed higher into the mountains the views became more and more spectacular. Suddenly we were about to enter the Homer tunnel. We had read about the homer tunnel and how the traffic is worked on a one way system with traffic lights..we had been told to be prepared for an amazing view..etc BUT no one told us that in avalanche season, which was when we were there, with warning signs everywhere not to stop that there are no traffic lights. Another thing no one told us was that the Homer tuunnel is VERY dark. Like really dark. As we approached the tunnel there is little warning..maybe 200 m from the tumnnel..no time to stop and think m(no traffic lights) suddenly we went into this hole and bang..darkness.. "Mary turn on your lights" "yes they are already on Alan, I need my glassses, my sunnies are no good in here" and then suddenly buses coming the other way, hazard warning lights flashing..seemingly taking up 75% of the road. It was incredibly scary..It is downfhill all the way so the good thing was the buses were going very slowly.
All I can say is the scenery was just magestic. after the tunnel and as the road went steadily downhill and all we did was go "ooo" "wow" "gosh" It really was great. Even though I was driving i still was ooing and ahing.
We arrived at Milford and found out where we needed to be and then went and had coffee at the one little coffee place there. After that we walked down to the terminal, and saw for ourselves how beautiful it was. There was a waterfall that was sending as mist over everything. By this time it was about 3.30 so I walked back up to the car, drove it down and unpacked our gear and sat and waited. Alan was so excited.
Come 4.30 we boarded, were given a quick run down (safety check included) shown our cabins and we were off.
That afternoon we saw some of the Fiord (which is what it really is as it is caused by a glacier) and then we parked (dropped anchor) for the night and went out on a tender (a small boat) where we saw penguins, and seals. I might add here that God once again looked after me. I prayed to see penguins and we saw penguins and seals. The other boat saw nothing.
We declined to kyak or swim but the 30 or so high school kids (who we were lucky enough to have along with us, for the night) all did (FOOLS) just in normal swimmers. I might add it was freezing on the water and we were told the water temp was about 9 degrees..ha I swim only when it is over 25 degrees..
Back on the boat, wine, yummy dinner, informative talk, a walk out on deck (ever so briefly to admire the stars) and bed. A great day
* One of the reflection terns we passed
* Avalanche warning signs. they were everywhere
* Some of the mountains around us
* Al after another photo shoot
* Homer tunnel with a warning sign not to stop..note the snow.Caused by an avalanche a few weeks earlier..
*Our first glimpse of our boat
* Al checking in at real journeys counter
* the next 3 are just some from the boat..beautiful
* Al and I freezing about 5pm on the small boat
* Photo of the big boat from the little boat
* One of the Fiordland yellow crested penguins.. (native to that area)