The Routeburn Track
Trip Start Jun 04, 2009
79Trip End Sep 06, 2010
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It feels like a year has passed since I last wrote to you all as in there is no way that my brain can comprehend how much has happened here in just a couple of weeks. As you know Steve's Dad Richard has been with us for this leg and I will be giving a full account of all the adventures we have had but before I get going I have to drop in a quick side note…I have a new job!
I’m going to be working as an Activities Booking Agent for a company in Queenstown that owns the Information Centre and two other sites in town for activities bookings. This means not only do I get to talk to people about all the fun things to do in town I also get to do them all myself, for free
After the celebratory bubbly we headed into town to show Richard the sights and grab a free beer from Monty’s (we’re still unsure as to when they will stop handing these out so best to make the most of it). A good few satisfied sighs and oohing and ahhing at the views in town ensued before we fired up the barbeque on the balcony and had a welcome to Queenstown feast of kings…until the barbeque itself caught fire on the wooden decking and Steve stepped up to fight the blaze with a couple of squeezy waterbottles and managed to stop the house from burning down. All a bit too exciting for a jet-lagged Richard who had put in a valiant effort to get to 10pm and then was out like a light (unlike the barbeque).
The next morning I had to work, somewhat more upbeat than usual as my shifts were numbered, and Steve and Richard planned a tour around Queenstown but were stopped short by a downpour of rain – most unfair
At the top of the gondola we went on the luge which is a bit like go-carting downhill. Needless to say I was rubbish at it and went at about 2 mph where as the boys were zooming past me and bashing into each other with great gusto. A great way to build up our appetites for the huge buffet we were having in the restaurant looking out on Queenstown. The views over the town were stunning and the food had all of our eyes popping out, everything you could imagine was there beautifully presented and very tempting
A good feed was not just a treat it was a necessity as the next morning we started on the Routeburn Track and would be walking for three days with minimal food supply. Our luck was in as the day was stunningly sunny and the hour long drive to the start of the track that took us through Glenorchy and allowed us to see a beautiful part of the country at it’s best so we had some good photo opportunities before we even arrived at the start. The trail took us up through moss covered forests, across swing bridges and waterfalls with snow capped mountains and deep valleys all around
While we tucked into our porridge at 5.45am we noticed a definite patch of blue sky above the hut and decided to think positive thoughts that perhaps it would follow us for the rest of the day. We got a good head start on the track before anyone else and were up in the mountains again soon. It was clear that the weather was trying it’s best to cheer up and we kept getting moments of clear skies followed by showers on a cycle for most of the morning. This culminated in us reaching the biggest waterfall on the track which comes down to meet the path. After we crossed past here we were utterly drenched, it was so powerful we had to keep our backs to it to try to keep our footing and the wind was so strong that even the water already in front of us was being blown back into our faces. Needless to say I got very cold and I’m told I may have complained a little bit (but that sounds very unlike me). Richard kindly lent me one dry glove, as the other was AWOL, I then wedged both my hands into the one glove and walked along praying for the next couple of hours (much to Steve's disapproval, as my now single hand would not have been much good if I fell over). I managed to get enough warmth to feel my hands again and start to believe that I would get to the end of the trail
Very upbeat we practically skipped for the last hour of the track and arrived at the end when the sun was fully out and we could dry off before getting on our coach that was taking us along the Milford Road to Milford Sound and then home. The Milford Road was very different to the last time we were there in the snow with my Dad. It was easier to see the mountain peaks all around and the vast amount of waterfalls coming down every cliff face. When we arrived in Milford Sound it was looking a bit grey and starting to spit so we expected a similar cruise to last time however as soon as we left the port the clouds parted and we were treated to yet another 'Mood of Milford’ in the bright sunshine. I, of course, got stuck into the complimentary tea and coffee and, as we arrived on a coach, we were entitled to a free muffin! It was a beautiful cruise and I’m so pleased we’ve now seen it in two completely different ways and highly recommend both to get the proper contrast of what Milford is all about
The less said about the 7 hour coach ride back to Queenstown the better as it was no-ones highlight of the trip! I mistakenly sat next to possibly the most annoying person to ever step foot on a coach. After about 10 minutes the American girl next to me got chatting to the person sitting behind us and proceeded to churn out rubbish about every topic under the sun very loudly non-stop for the full 7 hour trip which I planned to nap during. I think I had the last laugh though as obviously I did smell quite bad after three days trekking with no shower, so I'm sure she is complaining about me in her blog somewhere too. However to recover from the journey we had a Fergburger back in Queenstown, so it was all worth while in the end.
That’s the first installment for now with many photos to back up all my claims of beauty and stunning views. Please bear with me, with my new job starting I’m so busy so will get some more blogs done as soon as have a spare moment – there’s a lot more from Richards visit to tell so tune in next time…
Lot’s of Love,
Amy, Soaking Steve and Routeburn Richard