Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Milford Sound

With a destination of Milford Sound (New Zealand) today, we made sure to fill up first thing in the morning (after almost running out of fuel yesterday) and headed inland through the Haast Pass, where there are no settlements, and again sped along some gorgeous hilly and winding roads and past some large lakes. On one road, we encountered a flock of sheep being herded down the highway by their shepherd and his dog...

Baaa-d for traffic

We don't usually do touristy things, but we stopped at an interesting attraction, Puzzling World, in Wanaka. It housed various displays that played with your mind and equilibrium. Such as optical illusion displays that made it look like golf balls and water rolled up hill, and 168 faces on the wall that seemed to follow you. One distorted room was even used in the filming for the Lord of the Rings movie.

There was also a good 1.5 km maze of passages that took us almost an hour of fast tracking to make it through (it even had emergency exits!) Check out their website at www.puzzlingworld.co.nz.

We wanted to make it out to Milford Sound for the night. So we pressed on through Te Anau, out into the valleys surrounded by steep mountains, up along formidable narrow mountain roads squeezed between precipitous rocky crags, and the 1-km pass being a 1-way tunnel. We exited the tunnel on the side of a mountain and snaked our way down to Milford Sound where we took in the famous scene at the ocean inlet shores, with the mist giving it a surreal, fairy-tale look. Rudyard Kipling, a famous author, described it as the 'eighth wonder of the world'.

Milford Sound

But, one problem! Only one very expensive lodge and it was getting late. We were expecting more of a town with a choice of motels. Oh well, it was back an hour and a half to Te Anau. It was a good thing we had a fast bike because we made good time, arriving just at dusk and found a nice B&B After a quick check-in, we went downtown for some good Chinese.

Milford Sound is only 308 km from the southernmost town of Bluff but we would not be continuing any further south on our tour.

(The next morning, we met the interesting owners of the B&B where we slept last night in Te Anau. He was a helicopter pilot between jobs that took him various places around the world. As it turned out, we had a mutual acquaintance - the owner of Vancouver Island Helicopters who Aaron, Jordan's son, had designed a house for. Small world sometimes.)

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