motorhome to middle earth 2

March 18, 2009

 Celebrated Rod’s birthday with a trip to Skippers Canyon…a winding road with terrifying drops to the side, scary enough even before we met a thousand sheep mustering to the lower levels; a jetboat ride down the canyon…we gazed reverently upon the very spot where Frodo and Arwen faced the Ringwraiths before they were washed away by a tidal wave; Gill was exhilarated and drenched as we sped on, scraping by the sides of the canyon , Rod and Eddie sat stoical and unperturbed as we did 360degree turns, and me? I just about managed to hang on and I squealed like a girl; we stood on an early bungy jump bridge and pondered the madness of youth; we found Kelvin Heights and paddled in freezing water , spectacular views all around , debating how we could manage to live in this particular part of Queenstown; we played mini golf…Gill got a hole in one and I won overall (we were gracious victors).; we had a wonderful Italian ,thanks Rod) and toasted Emma’s hen night. Bliss.

Mounted a joint campaign against sandflies – we lost – they really are vicious little buggers

Enjoyed their photos of their Milford Sound experience – they had spectacular, glorious weather and a marvellous trip under brilliant blue sky

On our own again

We climbed onto Fox Glacier, put on our crampons (I write this so casually but I was so excited….I wore crampons!!!! Tick it off the ‘things I must do’ list!!), picked up our hobbit like staffs which helped (but didn’t entirely stop) me falling over and had fun with moulins and glacial flow ON THE GLACIER. WOW!

Found Deer Park Heights – several Lord of the Rings locations…I embarrassed Eddie by posing for several photos…here I am firing arrows alongside Legolas, here I am standing by Gandalf and Shadowfax, here I am pointing to attacking Wargs, here I am being a refugee from Edoras, here I am following Aragorn over the cliff (oh yes, indeed) ….such fun.

 In the same place we fed gentle but supercilious llamas, alpacas, goats and an especially aggressive deer. With signs which warned ‘STAY IN YOUR CAR IN THIS SECTION’ we did exactly that and then watched nervously as a huge stag with the fiercest and largest antlers tried to disembowel two Spanish tourists. We suspected they couldn’t read English.

Headed to Milford Sound in a steady downpour, listening to the Pogues ‘Misty Morning’, trying to count the myriad cascades sliding down the mountains and wondering whether it was worth going on a boat trip, we could only see vague shapes across the water. The boat was practically empty….we went. Good decision! The trip started in that scene straight out of King Kong when they arrive on the island…gazing up at sheer, soaring rock face, green with rain forest and prehistoric, velvet vegetation shrouded in clouds that moved sluggishly in the breeze giving glimpses of majestic heights towering above. Arctic terns showed off their flying skills in the tail wind behind the boat. Mitre Peak disappeared into the mist, veined with hundreds (thousands?) of waterfalls. Mount Kimberley, the Lion Rock, crouched at the entrance to the Sound. We glimpsed a rainbow at Fairy Falls, applauded the lone seal posing on the rock…..and in an instant the whole scene changed, the sun broke through and we were insignificant and awed as we craned our necks to see the dizzy heights surrounding us – the glacier glittered brightly and we saw the whole magnificence of this beautiful place. Perfect. We drove back via an unfolding scenery of massive granite slabs, swooping eagles, hidden chasms, and a changing light which startled us around every corner. Eddie’s photos of it are simply beautiful.

We called in on the positively delightful Te Anau and were so taken with it that we stopped for the night…this motor home makes for spontaneity! We could live here too…lake, mountains, walks, pleasant beer, nice people, more LOR locations to check on tomorrow…what’s not to like? New Zealand is stunning.

P.S. As suspected, access to the internet is a little more difficult here as we are traveling in quite remote areas and staying in the motorhome but we will post when we can. We are on the South Island for another 10 days and then move up north.

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One Response to “motorhome to middle earth 2”

  1. gill hartley Says:

    we are home again and I continue to dream of hills, cliffs and rocks. I can so picture what you describe. Wow ! Sandflies!!!! I was so stupid they fooled me completely. I am covered in pink itchy lumps ugg! Wish I was still there though. Give it my love. Take care and take your time. X


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