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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 276-278 – New Zealand – Milton, Milford Sound & Queenstown Arrival

Awakening on a grey morning with a thumping headache and the faint odour of fine dining from the night before we took a quick jaunt around Dunedin for a coffee and some breakfast. Satisfied that we’d recovered sufficiently it was off to the single most important destination of the entire trip. It turned out to be a bit of an imposter – we’d expected a city paved with gold with beer flowing freely and perfectly kempt football pitches at every turn but got a laid back farming town somewhat undeserving of the moniker adorning its entry and exit signs. This was not the Milton we were looking for.

We moved swiftly on as we’d decided that the poor weather plus our condition equalled the perfect day to drive from the east to the west coast and see how close we could get to Milford Sound. We drove and drove and drove and eventually hit Te Anau by late afternoon. A quick chinwag in the info centre suggested that it was probably worth the punt of driving right to the lodge at the heart of Milford Sound so we braved the final few hours on the road and reached the swanky (overpriced) residence / van park by nightfall. We’d booked ourselves on the first cruise the next day run by the providers of our campervan – Jucy. They just so happened to have a boat and a deal that meant we paid a lot less than we could have so we got up and got on the cruise despite the poor weather.

The low cost off the trip went someway to offsetting the fact that – thanks to the ever lovely attribute of a grey sky – it wasn’t a great deal of fun. It was OK but it didn’t have the impact it probably would have had on a better day. I got soaked by a waterfall, seals were spotted and the huge green fiord lands rose up alongside us throughout but weather plays such a huge part in these things and the good stuff was on vacation that day.

We moved straight on back in the direction of Te Anau which we eventually reached after a few photo stops to attempt to capture something of the place. Here was another highly recommended place by Rob & Gilly and we settled down for the afternoon and evening rustling up a few meals in the ample camp kitchen and keeping warm.

Back on the road early we stopped briefly to view the mist-shrouded Lake Manapouri before blazing on toward Queenstown. It was a nice hilly drive and at one point we spied paragliders monkeying about over the valleys. We reached Queenstown late afternoon and set about working out what we’d do with our time there.

Queenstown was one of the few places in New Zealand that I knew of before we set off on this journey and I was dead set on enjoying an activity I’d never done before – it was time to Bungee Jump. After some umming and ahhing over weather conditions we bit the bullet and lined up 2 bungee’s and a swing for the following day. Suitably buzzing with excitement we grabbed some supplies from a nearby supermarket and after attempts to find suitable freedom camping failed rolled to a not-all-bad van park called Qbox and paid over the odds for nothing special.