Southern Scenic Route and Milford Sounds

Before heading off to Invercargill we drove out to Dunedin’s Peninsula. However we weren’t really willing to pay 30 NZD for visiting a castle (this ain’t Scotland after all) nor to pay 40 NZD for watching some Albatrosses and so we headed back to town after a while. There we had a look at Baldwin Street which is according to the Guinness Book of World Records the steepest street of the world ( Indeed it was pretty steep after all.

After leaving Dunedin we would for the next two days we follow the Southern Scenic Route along a lot of farmland and extraordinary coast lines. First stop was Jack’s Blowhole and later on the Purakaunui Falls – both nice natural sights.

We stopped at Invercargill for the night. On the search for a restaurant for dinner we felt that the city was more of a ghost town and definitely not the party capital of the world. Nevertheless we manged to find some very nice Thai food and had a good rest.

After buying a new camera (see previous entry) we continued on the Scenic Route along the coast towards Te Anau. The new camera came in very handy as the coast line and the sea offered fantastic colours. Besides admiring New Zealand’s southern beauty we had a stop at Gemstone Beach (we couldn’t find any gemstone though) and at the country’s oldest suspension bridge (which was closed due to renovation works).

After fueling up in Te Anau we aimed for Milford Sounds which was another 120 kilometers away. The only road to Milford Sounds led through a dreamlike landscape with rich colours and high snow capped mountain ranges. The road was build from the 1930s to the 1950s and is often closed in Winter due to heavy snow fall and avalanches (and is closed every night through out the year). The Milford Lodge (sounds way more fancy than it was) was our campground for the night and as the night turned out to be rather chilly we were once again happy to have had our cozy sleeping bags with us.

If you are in Milford Sounds (which is technically not a sound but a fjord – please don’t ask us what the difference is…) you need to do a cruise through the fjords. We were no exceptions and so boarded our Jucy Cruise Ship at 9:30. The 90 minutes cruise was excellent and brought us up to the mouth of the fjord (where it joins the open sea) along high cliffs, seal colonies and some impressive waterfalls. It’s not surprising that the whole area is a World Heritage Site and one of New Zealand’s favorite tourist spots.

Afterwards it was time to drive back to Te Anau but this time we took our time and made a few stops on the way back. First one was at the The Chasm, a series of waterfalls which made their way througha narrow gorge. The Cascades was another waterfall stop (to the liking of waterfall-crazy Hazel). Lastly we stopped at the Mirror Lakes and yes they were super clear and mirror-like.

We stayed then two days at the Kiwi Holiday Park as we decided to add a rest day to our journey. The highlight of the rather overcast rest day was a walk along the sea and about fifty or so ducks which liked us a lot (probably due to us feeding them).

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