Rain but spectacular views
We took the ferry to the South Island and drove towards Marlborough Sounds. It was a picturesque drive on a little windy road. Unfortunately we got lost a couple of times and by the time we reached the parking lot of the camp ground, it was pitch black and the camp ground 15 minutes to walk with all our gear. We met this guy who worked for a backpacker hostel. He had a quadbike and took Matthias to the hostel to check it our. Apart from that it was too expensive, Matthias nearly died on the back of this quadbike. Apparantly it was the absolute horror ride. Matthias did look a bit shaky, I have to say.
Okay, here we were in the middle of the night without a place to put up our tends. We decided to have a little look around and found a piece of grass and put up our tend in the light of the car.
The next day we headed off to Havlock to find a nice camp ground and to chill for a bit. We were welcomed by a really dodgy guy who was helping out at the camp ground. He could hardly talk and walk and was obviously under some intoxicating influence. We decided to take a water taxi and go for a tour around the sounds. It was quite a nice landscape and we had a relaxing day.
Our next stop was Punakaiki, which has a lovely beach and amazing rocks. We watched the sunset on the beach and went to the pub in the evening. The next morning we went to see the pancake rocks for which Punakaiki is famous. They really look like a pile of pancakes and when the flood comes in, the water is splashing really high drawing rainbows in the sun. It was really beautiful and we took many photos. You could really see the forces of nature.
On the way to Franz Josef Glacier, we stopped in Shanty Town. This is the model of an old gold digger town. We took a ride on a steam train and got a good impression on how people lived in those days. When we reached the glacier it was too foggy to see much so we continued to Fox Glacier, which was equally covered in fog. We put up our tends so we could see the glacier, or where we expected it to be, so that we could check out in the morning whether it was worth getting up. Well, it wasn´t really. We didn´t see anything but still went on a walk around the mirror lake.
So far so good, now we were driving towards Queenstown. The drive was fantastic. As always we stopped for a picnic and took it really easy. Queenstown was really nice. It has a ski resort kind of atmosphere which was perfect for us exhausted travellers. We splashed out on a fantastic pizza, did some shopping and hang out in a couple of bars. There were so many activities but it was raining heavily so we decided to take it easy. Somehow we were somewhat sick of getting soaked all the time.
From Queenstown we went to Milford Sound and guess what, it was raining!! Again!! I do believe that the Kiwis have more rain than the UK. I swear, we don´t have that much rain in the summer or winter. We put up our tends and went on a cruise around Milford Sound. Although it was raining it was very beautiful. Hundreds of waterfalls were coming down the bare rock. We saw dolphins and seals and had a great time on the boat.
The night though was a different matter. It rained all night long and the pegs came out of the soggy ground. We slept in a puddle and poor old Neil had to get up in the middle of the night and rescue our tend. The next morning we left as quickly as we could and drove to Dunedin.