On our coach tour, we had learned that Ridley Scott had recently finished filming the new Aliens movie in Milford Sound and that Peter Jackson had filmed part of his King Kong remake here as well. We listened for screeching or drums, for prehistoric creatures that could suddenly leap out of the fog, but in the end, we believed ourselves safe and in danger only of not yet drinking enough coffee.
The rain brought out the waterfalls. All around they appeared, rushing from unseen corners and cliff tops, some flowing in a rush like spigots turned on to refill the Sound and some trickling down like spidery tendrils decorating the rocks.
Rain jackets on point!
The morning brought not only rain but frolicking seals. They rolled in the water, sliding over and under each other and leaping onto their rocky perch.
When we got back to port, we learned that the change of weather had done more than triggered a hundred waterfalls … it had triggered the cancellation of our flight. So, it was back on the coach with Craig, who was beyond delighted that it had rained. He believes the only way to see the glacial landscape is when the wet has brought out its glossy green, when the water is falling. He was jazzed and ready to talk us all the way to Queenstown.
Our huge coach windows offered a streaked vista en route.
As we walked back to the bus, something caught my eye–a round bird pecking at the ground. Was it a kiwi?! Yes, it must be.
As I got on the bus, I excitedly told Craig, “I saw a Kiwi!” Nope. He corrected, “You saw a Weka, which is still very cool.” I saw a Weka 🙂
We stopped midway to grab a quick lunch in TeAnau; we stopped here on the way down, too, which I forgot to mention. On the way to Milford, we ate at the Olive Cafe, which was good, but much like a thousand other cafes. This time through, we wanted to get to Miles Better Pies, a tiny hole in the wall with a line out the door. Always a good sign. Yum! We got some curry and thai pies, a fruit pie, plus a GF sandwich, and even managed to squeeze into some seats at the counter.
After scarfing it all down, we wanted more, but the line was long and time was short. So, instead, Takahe selfie! This Takahe is only about 1000 times as large as the actual bird, but it works.
Here’s another one, this time in wood form. As might be expected given that NZ’s only native wildlife are birds and bugs, they’re pretty attached to their birds. We didn’t hear much about bugs, though.
From TeAnau, the landscape started to flatten again, meaning we were getting closer to Queenstown. Craig kind of declared it naptime, put on some music, and wrapped in a grey sky blanket, we settled in for a drowsy ride home.
Did we have it in us to party with Queenstown on NYE? Um, no. It had been a long day. But, right next to our apartment was a haunted house, Fear Factory, that the kids had been eyeing since day one. And, it had to be amazing, because according to a photo displayed out front, Ed Sheeran had visited earlier in the month. Can’t argue with that. Ned and the kids went, while I enjoyed a flat white and some NZ tv.
They came back happily horrified! It turns out that–in NZ–people can touch you in haunted houses and chase you and grab you. I’ll let the photos do the talking:
These people are scared.
The look on Ned’s face here is priceless, and Harper is just gone.
Penn is clearly willing to sacrifice his dad and sister if need be.
Having survived, smiles all around!
While they were away, I grabbed a shot from our balcony–the lights of Queenstown. We didn’t get to use the balcony as much as we might have if we had saved the four hours by flying home from Milford, but it was a lovely feature.
(Yawn–good night, 2016.)