NZ Part 2 – Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau (November 2018)

The first blog I posted was dealing with 5 days hiking through the Matukituki Valley, but outside of that there were more adventures through the south island of New Zealand. And by adventures, I mean disc golf and freezing in the snow and rain mainly.

The first disc golf was in Queenstown. I won.

There was fresh mountain top snow overnight, but still the days were sunny so we weren’t freaking out too much about our hike starting soon.

We hiked to the top of Queenstown Hill to stretch our legs out, where we also met a dog that walked all the way to the top. Here’s a rare photo of me with Lucy, a dog more fit than most tourists.

She ran out of energy on the way back though and managed to hitch a ride with her owner. I was a bit sad I couldn’t do the same.

After the hike we spent a few days recuperating in Wanaka which involved bakeries, breweries, white water rafting and of course, that Wanaka Tree. If you want to see a big crowd of expensive cameras, just sit by the tree and wait for the sun to set. I didn’t really have the patience or remaining leg strength for it, so I just took a few photos using my shoe as a tripod at dusk.

One of the day hikes we did from Wanaka was Isthmus Peak. It was bloody cold and windy but the views were spectacular the entire way up.

Of course there were summit beers.

Don’t let the blue skies and shorts trick you. A few hours later, we were in the car and the temperatures had dropped below zero and the snow had set in. Driving was fun.

We booked the cliche tourist boat trip out to Milford Sound and it seemed we were blessed with some blue skies as the boat left the dock.

But no chance at all. The rain set in within minutes and did not lift at all.

We couldn’t see all of the beauty of the sound, but it was still a fun tour. Our boat drove under a waterfall, filling up some glasses on the bow with fresh water, which we got to drink.

We didn’t see any penguins, which was a shame, but we did see some seals from a distance.

The boat also sailed under a second waterfall, for those who wanted a shower. But I stayed warm and dry in the cabin with the captain of the boat.

And wouldn’t you know it… as we got back to the boat, the blue skies appeared again.

But that was temporary. As Milford Sound is at the end of a single road, we got stranded there for a few hours as the snow was too heavy for traffic.

At this point of our trip, we were getting ready to head home. But Dan and I had a score to settle. I won disc golf in Queenstown, he won it in Wanaka, so on the way to the airport we had a showdown at the Te Anau course.

Needless to say, I took out our mini NZ championship.

Although our hike was the big part of the trip, it had been over 10 years since I had been to NZ, so just having time to explore new places and revisit old favourites, this time with a camera in tow, was amazing.

I can’t wait to go back.

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