Queenstown sits on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. Renowned for adventure sports, it is also a base for exploring the region’s vineyards and historic mining towns. There is bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge and jet-boating on the Shotover and Dart rivers. In winter, there’s skiing on the slopes of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. For foodies, Fergburger’s and Cow Pizza are popular, as evidenced by the lines and referrals (and Janelle’s gull friend waiting for Fergburger crumbs).
Our tour of Milford Sound almost did not happen, due to torrential rains a few weeks before. They washed out the roads to the Sound, but road crews have completed enough repairs to allow bus convoys to get there. Our tour coach left in Queenstown in a steady rain, but things cleared up as we approached the Sound. The roads still had some repair work underway, but we emerged into the sunlight.
The weather turned out to be clear and windy, and the cruise was great. Beautiful scenery and waterfalls. We also saw some fur seals basking on “their” rock.
Upon return to the pier, Janelle and I shuttled over to the Milford Sound airstrip for our return flight option. We were glad to return in the daylight for our flight among the mountains. Our chariot of the sky was a Cessna Caravan with twelve passengers. Our pilot, Antony, was a third generation pilot in the family business and gave us a running commentary on the 35-minute flight. The scenery was spectacular, the ride was pretty smooth. We were back at the hotel by 5 pm; the bus returned about 8:30 p.m.