Helicopters, Snowmen, Blue slopes and speed tears
Trip Start Oct 10, 2006
61Trip End Ongoing
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Every now and again, the pilot radioed over the headset to say 'Did you see that Mam?', which was comical! He really gave us an amazing flight, and spun the helicopter around 180 degrees at times and did some amazingly close manoeuvres, hugging the mountains and the Glaciers. We landed beautifully on pristine snow on the glacier top and spent a few minutes savouring the solitude and surroundings. It was a totally exhilarating experience and one we would do again in a second.
Next stop was Wanaka where we planned to maybe do a bit of skiing. However, Wanaka and the whole area of Central Otago was hit by the heaviest snow storm they have had in the last 8 years, so we were snow bound for 3 days. Luckily enough, Wanaka is a cool spot to get stuck in, lots of bars, restaurants etc and a Puzzle World, where we spent hours trying to solve puzzles. Ironically the snow peaks were closed due to there being too much snow and nobody could access the peaks with the roads being blocked!!! With nowhere to go, we built a freaky looking snowmen
We have met so many people along our travels talking about Milford Sound, so after the first night in Queenstown we drove the 5 hour journey to Milford Sound the next day. It was a beautiful drive, and with everything covered in snow in such a remote place, we felt very far away from anywhere. Arriving in Milford Sound late in the afternoon we quickly checked out the local boat cruises on offer. Business being slow due to the snowy weather, we were offered 2 cruises for the price of one. Last one of the day and first boat in the morning... nice little deal we couldn't turn down. Milford Sound is in the heart of Fiordland, which was carved out by a glacier many (many) years ago. We cruised through the calm waters and all around you is pure natural untouched beauty. Snow capped granite mountains tower high up over the boat, there are some spectacular tall waterfalls, one which we went right up close to and got saturated! We stopped just after the sound meets the Tasman Sea, where the next stop would be Australia. We didn't bother with a campsite that night, instead opting to park up beside the dramatic Sound just in time for sunset.
Back to Queenstown and with the Winter festival just starting and all the slopes being open, there was a great buzz around the town. We signed up for two days of skiing and lessons in Coronet Peak. We both loved the skiing and boldly attempted a Blue (intermediate) slope on day two.
Possibly not a good idea but we managed it without breaking anything.... At one stage I (Lenny) was going so fast, I had speed tears rolling down my face - more practice is definitely needed!!!! Queenstown is a cool place and we hit the town on our last night before heading across the Tasman Sea the following day to our next stop, OZ.