Here I am back on a computer at last, only dial-up but at least I can give you a quick update of our adventures and say hello.
We have experienced the most awesome awesomeness in the past few days.
We survived Wanaka - gave it a second chance and can see how it is attractive but it just doesn't work for us. I had 4/10 French Toast and we got overcharged!!
From there we had a great journey down to Fiordland, stopping in Arrowtown which is a preserved/reconstructed gold-mining town. There were a lot of Chinese miners brought in and their settlement is very atmospheric. There are a considerable number of deciduous trees in the area so we had an impressive display of autumn colour which is strange for NZ.
From there it was onwards to Te Anau, the furthest south we've been in NZ ever. We have been staying in a backpackers' there for six days and had time to do exciting things and time to relax too, excellent. Every morning the view of mountains from our room is different, thank goodness for digital photography. We have enjoyed walks on the lakeside in Te Anau and lots of lovely coffee shops on the one day when it poured and poured and poured - they can have up to 9m (yes, that's metres) of rain in Fiordland - and some epic days out. I know we go on about the weather but it has been exceptional here. We were prepared for rain, it being the west coast and autumn but after the one wet day we have enjoyed sun and more sun, even though there was a frost yesterday morning.
On Easter Sunday we went out to Doubtful Sound on a day trip that involved crossing Lake Manapouri, then a coach trip across the Wilmot Pass, then another boat in Doubtful Sound (actually a fjord not a sound at all...) We saw bottlenosed dolphins, wonderous waterfalls, mountains and miles and miles of empty water. The quiet when the boat engines were cut was amazing. Brilliant day out. We had a stop at the Manapouri power station on the way back (below the fjord, like something out of a 007 film, interesting but not as impressive as nature's creations imho).
Yesterday we took the Milford Road to Milford Sound. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had the amazing contrast of snow in the mountains and then being too hot in a camisole and shirt at sea level! Also it was really weird as Milford was so busy. It's school holidays here and it was a lovely day, as the owner of our backpackers' said, "You drive to the end of the world and find it's full!" The Milford Road is an adventure in itself, with lots of stopping points for serious trampers or for lightweights like us to get out of the car and take a photo. We walked to a stunning waterfall, stopped at some mirror lakes, enjoyed the wonders of the mountain scenery and saw a kaka, a mountain parrot. At Milford Sound we enjoyed a walk along the foreshore and our picnic lunch under a tree where we found out that our insect repellent does actually work and the sandflies didn't fancy having their lunch with us.
Okay, time nearly up. We've an overnight in Queenstown tomorrow and then another at Lake Tekapo - is that the church you want a photo of Jane? Hope so! Then we're in Timaru for a few days and I'm off to the quilt symposium while Al enjoys whatever else the area has to offer. Eventually there will be photos - we've taken a few! Hope you all had a good Easter and are happy and healthy. Lots of hugs, Lis and Al xxxx