New Zealand Adventures - Part 2

Our third day on the South Island we woke up to this beautiful view overlooking Glendhu Bay of Lake Wanaka. 

We were scheduled to go on a sightseeing flight over the Southern Alps to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park on the southwest part of the island, but the weather down in that area was not cooperating. So we spent a relaxing morning wandering in Wanaka town, eating good food, and feeding the ducks and longfin eels. 

About 12:30pm We got the call that the weather calmed down and we were good to go so we headed to the tiny Wanaka airport and our six seater plane. The flight was amazing! We flew at 8000 feet for about 40 minutes over Mount Aspiring National Park, the Southern Alps, numerous glaciers and alpine lakes, out over the coast, and into Fjordland National Park. These mountains were the setting for much of the Lord of the Rings movies. Piper was interested for the first 20 minutes then she promptly fell asleep! 

Milford Sound is the wettest place in New Zealand and one of the wettest places on earth. It is a temperate rain forest and can get up to 10 inches of rain in 24 hours. Our pilot told us we were very lucky as only 1 out of 3 days in Milford Sound gets sunshine. We got a beautiful day, the sun was shining, there was not a cloud in the sky!  After landing we went on a boat cruise 16km up the sound to the Tasman Sea. On the cruise we saw numerous waterfalls, dolphins, southern fur seals, even an albatross. It was so beautiful, I thought it looked a lot like Yosemite but full of water!

Once we finished our cruise it was time to fly over the mountains again and this direction did not disappoint! Piper fell asleep again (less oxygen up at 8000 feet!)

After our amazing fly-cruise-fly we were back in Wanaka and headed to our third camp spot, a picturesque department of conservation camp at the north end of Lake Hawea. Driving in New Zealand was always amazing, every turn opened up to another beautiful view. It was not far to our campground, but a significant portion of the road was dirt so we took our time, but when we got there it was amazing! It was our first unpowered camp spot so we got to learn how to use the gas tank to heat the campervan and our water!

After a nice night we headed north, through Mount Aspiring National Park, towards the West Coast. I was super keen on hiking to the Blue Pools but the weather was not cooperating. When we reached the trail head though I knew we had to do it and I'm so glad we did! It was a fantastic hike through rainforest and across a couple of suspension bridges that cross gorgeous deep river pools where the Blue and Makarora Rivers meet. The color and clarity of the water was beautiful. And, as it is glacier fed, it was quite cold too! The shores of the rivers are perfectly flat rocks (piper said it was a beach of perfect "trippling" (she meant skipping) rocks!) and many people had left behind cairns so we built a couple too!

Stay tuned for more New Zealand adventures!