We were advised that the clouds were likely to come in force today, so we decided to cut our Milford experience and drive back to Queenstown.
It was a very sad day today as we had to accept that now we were heading back to “Civilisation”, an airport and back to Blighty and that this most amazing of journeys was going to come to an end in a few short days.
Still, Chin up and all that, hey?
Today, we were going to try our hand at kayaking, seeing as we had promised ourselves that we would at least try it, whilst on holiday. Down we trundled to the edge of the Sound with about 6 other people for a “relaxed 2 hour kayak experience”… or, in other words, “kayaking for softies!”
We didn’t care. It was great for us.
Getting to the “kayak lodge”, which was actually a ship container, we were given a briefing by a laid-back “dude”…. 5 Women and myself and the guide.
“Right, then”, dude said, with a North American twang, “can you please strip down to your underwear and put our rig on, to keep you dry and warm?”
“Errr…. I don’t think so!” We said. No change rooms in sight.
I volunteered to go outside and get changed there. Such a man! The ladies sorted themselves out in the porta cabin and I ventured out into the wilderness….
Being semi-naked and in the wilds is a bit liberating, but it doesn’t half paint a huge target for every sand fly in the world to came and attack you. Especially when your one leg is trying to extricate itself from jeans and the other is locked into slightly mouldy leg warmers.
Trousers off… slap!
Thermals on…. Slap, slap!
Shirt and jumper off. Oh, for goodness sake!!! Slap, slap, S-L-A-P!!11
By the time we were all dressed, I looked like a “join-the-dots” picture. Lots of sand-fly spray later and we were all in the kayaks in the water. (Still more slapping though as these particular sand flies obviously had not been told that the spray was poisonous)
The clouds had not yet tumbled into the Sound so the waters were mirror-still. Gliding through the water was a wonderful experience, even seeing the mountains in the distance at this low perspective was great.
Over we paddled to the Lady Bowen Falls. Our guide helped us climb up to the very foot of the waterfall, which was immense. All the spray soothing the itchiness from the bites.
A quick photo shoot, where we saw a few grave stones set into the banks of the pool, and we set off again, back to the porta cabin and more waiting sand flies.
We walked back to The Blue Duck for a quick coffee, tanking up the RV and the dumping of our “Black water” and then said our sad goodbyes to this amazing place. Then it was back up the long route of SH94 to start the route back to Christchurch, in 4 days. Boo-Hoo.
This time, we stopped at the Chasm, as mentioned earlier. No tourists in sight. Bliss! A short walk later (followed by more Kea birds) and we arrived at this mighty example of what water does when its path is obstructed. The water of the Cleddau River is funnelled into a tight wedge of rock and so does what it must do to get past; it bores a hole right through the solid rock. Lovely interlude.
Back to the RV again and the steep drive up to the Homer Tunnel. (No naked people running up the incline today, it seemed!). Then down the long 190km back to Te Anau.
By the time we got there, the weather had turned, as they said it would and it rained continually for the next 6 hours as we made our miserable way back up to Queenstown and an overnight at the same quirky Top 10 motorhome camp we stayed at before travelling down to Milford a few days before.
Another late jaunt through the shops, including Yaks and Yeti, a pizza and then off to the cinema to see “interstellar”, which was truly stupendously amazing! Matthew McConaughey was excellent. I think we will need to see it again just to grasp everything that was going on.
We were knackered and wet, so it was back to the RV again and a bit of shut eye, disappearing into the land of nod.
Avidly following your trip, but now in the flesh and we have reached The Bay of Islands. Excellent reporting and photographs so many thanks. We are being very technically challenged as we can get no emails out, but incoming appears to be no problem. Cell phone with local SIM card also doesn’t want to send text messages. Where are our Tech Savvy children when we need them?