“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fiordland is gorgeous

In November, I took a week off work to fly to the South Island of New Zealand. We flew to Queenstown and did a driving tour around the Fiordlands. Darin and I rented a camper-van from Jucy rentals, and drove to Manapouri, to Te Anau, to Milford Sound, and back to Queenstown.  We camped every night except in Queenstown, where we enjoyed a hot shower and soft bed. 
The campgrounds were great, all have shared toilet and kitchen facilities, for no extra fee.  November was early in the spring season, so the cost  was reasonable for the camper rental. The camper had a stove, sink, water, small refridgerator, and bed (assembly required), with sheets supplied.  There were curtains on the windows and storage space beneath the benches. Nothing bad happened with the rental, but next time I will pay a bit more for a bigger camper. The one we had, called a "campa", had an uncomfortably sloping passenger seat and  a crap stereo that wouldn't play the CDs we'd brought.
We splurged on an overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys, and were not disappointed.  It was just great; the staff was talented, the food was delcious and plentiful, and the scenery was stunning-  we'd do it again and recommend it to others. It was cold, but we were dressed warmly. I had my down
jacket along but didn't need it after Doubtful Sound.

The next stop was Milford Sound, where we camped 3 nights. This was also worthwhile, because we got to see a lot of the attractions of the area.  This included the Kea, the NZ mountain parrot, which is very cool. We had great weather, but when it rained on the day we departed, this was beautiful too, because all the mountainsides were covered in waterfalls.
We enjoyed kayaking on Milford Sound, and the hikes were also grand.  Here's Darin pointing at the Darren Mountains (misspelled, obviously).