. It was with some relief that I eventually solved the puzzle and sealed the doors shut before we headed on our way - but I was beginning to have visions of us falling out the moving car.
Anyway, as we journeyed on the mountains closed in on every side, the road became steep and windy, and we seemed to shrink to the size of ants. These mountains were something else - certainly not the friendly or inviting variety. Dark and ominous granite giants - worthy of names like ‘Mordor’ or ‘The Destroyer’, but instead with names akin to ‘Mildred’ and ‘Brian’ (I can’t remember exactly). We tried taking photos but the effect of looking up at a mountain with a camera was to shrink these giants to the size of molehills.
I was trying to think of a way to adequately describe it and began remembering the latest King Kong film. I remember watching it and presuming that the filmakers had scaled everything up for effect. Or at least copied all the most grand and impressive landscapes and pasted them together. But I can tell you now that there are places in the world that require no such exaggeration.
Shortly before reaching the Sounds we came across the Homer tunnel, a single lane tunnel carved by hand through the solid granite mountain
. There was a signal by the entrance to usher the traffic through. It changed every 15 minutes. So we parked up and allowed our brakes to cool before completing our journey. Once at the Sounds we embarked a ferry and thus began our excursion through this stunning, unique space. Now at this point I will attempt to wow you with science - most of which I was completely ignorant of before the trip. Apparently the Sounds are technically Fiordes. Neither word meant much to me then but I can tell you now that a ‘sound’ is a river bed carved to below sea level and subsequently filled by the sea. A fiorde, on the other hand, is similar but is carved by a glacier rather than a river. The net effect is huge mountains that protrude straight up from the water. Milford Sounds actually boasts one of the worlds tallest, ‘straight up from the sea’ mountains in the world. And apparently these mountains are growing! These rock giants, forged in the belly of the earth, are constantly being pushed skyward. I did learn more but unless these facts are accompanied by being there I doubt they’ll be particularly interesting.
Anyway ... amazing, astounding, breath-taking, gob-smacking, awesome etc.
Next stop the Haast Pass via Arrowtown. See you there ...
From Queenstown we journeyed to Te Anau, where we pitched our tent and headed towards the Milford Sounds. This drive was something else - truly special (EDWJ land for those of you at CWR). Turquoise blue streams lined by fields of budding Lupin in their various shades or purple, pink and blue. And in the background the snowcapped mountains reflected in mirror lakes. I almost considered life as a poet. We could virtually see some Bible verse or other printed over the scene. We made various stops along the way to admire waterfalls and blue pools. At one of these stops we returned to the car only to find that the front passenger door wouldn't respond to the keys instruction. After much jiggery-pokery we persuaded it to yield only to find that we’d been a little too persuasive. Now the door wouldn’t stay closed. In an effort to understand the problem I examined the back door and in the process rendered that door ‘uncloseable’ too. Things weren’t looking promising