Early start, but wake up fine as had an easy night so good sleep. Even up early enough to grab the free toast and make a tea to go as it’s a long coach to Milford. Wearing the bear as it’s cold and thought it might be cool for bear to have a day out at the famous Milford Sounds. Our driver is a guy called Digger who is interesting to listen to cracking a few jokes along the way. I sit next to Ida and for the first part most people sleep as there are too many clouds to appreciate the good views. Digger even puts on a video of Milford for us to watch – a bit of an attenburgh type film not so bad.
We stop at Frankton and Te Anua for food breaks and Te Anu is where was considering staying to do extra walks or go to Doubtful Sounds, but due to time and weather decide not too. Essie, Charlotte and Gin still stay although after going there and realising how small it is and far from Milford Sounds still they are not as keen on their choice.
The cafe is cute tho with Shamels outside (Aka Alpaccas) who entertain everyone for a bit by having a stare out and weird noise competition it seems. Funny animals. We stay there for bit and I get homemade banana cake that was so nice.
After Te Anu is where the tour really starts and first stop is the glacier mountains from a distance and a spring pool, but the clouds stop any amazing pictures, but bear does well.
Next is the MIRROR LAKES, which even with the cloud and rain can see the reflection of the mountains. Only a short 10min return walk along a boardwalk, it’s long enough to get attacked by sand flies. Apparently Digger says they are protected so not allowed to kill them, although I find that hard to believe!
Second main stop is the tunnel, which is entrance for milfords and usually scenic, but can all we are taking pictures of is cloud. Only a quick stop while we let 2 sets of the traffic lights pass (as it is one way) and Digger wants get ahead of a slow white intercity bus as the driver is too slow to get stuck behind on a narrow road.
The next stop is CHASM and it’s a bit longer of a walk through rainforest that is famous for its trees being covered in moss. Also there is a river like a mini rapids, with a wooden bridge looking over the weird rock formations, shaped by the flow of the historic glacier all really smooth and curved with huge holes in it. Quite mesmerizing to watch the water surrounded by big mossy boulders. On a time limit as we have to get our boat we go round quick, but it is sort of place you could stay longer especially if weather good. There is only person that makes it back late and Digger picks on her with German efficiency jokes. But no need to worry as we end up having plenty of time to board and get decent seats. Although it’s super cold and need layers and frequent trips inside to make most of the free teas and coffee. Lunch isn’t included on the JUCY LUCY so have to grab their totally overpriced wraps from Pit Stop, that isn’t so bad.
The boat goes around the waterfalls and also under one for those who want to get wet – not too many as water is freezing and crazy to think how powerful they are. Also close up it looks so much bigger and you need the other boats to put into perspective just how tall they are as they just look like trickles otherwise. I think the scenery is amazing and bear has great fun. Not sure if some of the boys were disappointed as they don’t come out much onto deck and moan it’s not that special maybe thinking the falls would be bigger or something so hang out with Essie a lot on topdeck.
The boat is only hour and half and we head straight to Te Anu after where Essie etc get off. While Digger does that I hang out with the shamels again. Then it’s the joyful long bus ride home, which ends up being ok as TED the film gets put on, which had never seen and is funny, plus has Mark Walberg in it haha. We also get stuck in traffic that delays us by about 25minutes as its a car accident or fire, which is annoying when we all want to get back as it’s Welsh Alex’s last night before Thailand. Eventually back near 9pm it doesn’t give much time to get ready and out. Ida and I grab a butter chicken curry to share from the food court, that is nice and then it’s pre drinks in the room again. We don’t stay there too long as Alex runs out of drinks, so we head out to our usual bars world bar, Searle lane, Winnies and Bungalow at the end of the night. There are a few new people from the other buses out, like Vinnie and Tim and Tom. It is a late night and end up at Ferg Burger, which is funny seeing all the late night eaters. There are some guys sitting with their legs crossed looking a bit uncomfortable and Ida sits with them for at least half hour copying them amusing herself while chatting away to them.
9th May 2016