Monday, September 6, 2010

Part 4: ADVENTURE to the Sound - Handstands, waterfalls, upside down mountains, tunnels, & a headless snowman

29 August 2010: Milford Sound

Up bright and early for a day of traveling, we hit the road (after some delectable toast of course). Milford Sound lies in the southwest corner of New Zealand, tucked away in the vast Fiordland National Park. Unfortunately, there is no direct route from where we were in Queenstown (the nearest, tourist city) to the sound, so we had to take a very round-about route (see below).
This route should have taken a little under 4 hours, but the drive, full of twisting mountain roads and epic vistas, became part of the adventure.

Gabe rocking a handstand at one of our many stops (you will see several Gabe-handstand pictures before this is over - we can literally make a photo album of these, as he did one everywhere we went...sweet as):
My epic fail of a cartwheel:
Gabe was feeling a bit under the weather, so I made up for my laziness the day before, by doing most of the early morning driving. We left at 8:30 a.m. and arrived at the outskirts of the park by 11:30, where a sign stated: "allow 2 hours" to actually reach the Sound. We stopped so many times that 2 hours became almost 3, and I think we got to our destination by 1:30 or 2 p.m.

The first of many amazing Fiordland Park views along the way, were the Mirror Lakes. The photos speak for themselves:
What do you see?...
A beautiful mountain landscape? NOPE! That's just their reflection (I flipped the photo upside down). Clearly, they are called the "Mirror" Lakes for a reason.

Erika and I having a silly moment, looking at the mountain reflections the right way up (yeah... we got some looks):
You can barely see it, but spot the little green & gold sign on the middle-right side of the photo along the water's edge. It says "Mirror Lakes" upside down so it's reflected the right way on the water:
Pretty cool, huh?
Next, we came across an amazing look out, encircled by mountains on all sides. I must take a moment to say that I feel so lucky to have traveled south during the winter. Seeing snow on every peak, made everything that much more beautiful. From now on, if anyone ever asks about visiting NZ, I will advise avoiding the tourists and roughing the cold, just to see mountain scenery like this.

We didn't know which amazing range to look at:
A backdrop like this called for a meditative pose:
And some tai chi... or was this slow motion karate kicks? When I said, "Quick, do a fun pose," this is what they came up with:
More incredible sights, included raging rivers and waterfalls...
And the closer we got to the Sound, the closer we got to the SNOW...
We stopped on our way out of the park, later that afternoon, to make this fabulous snowman (while wearing the road trip hat) in honor of Sam, who could not continue on with us for this leg of the trip:
His face fell off... my bad...After literally driving through a mountain (aka a one-car-wide roughly cut tunnel), we exited on the snow-free side of the mountains and traversed a bit more wonderful, rainforest-filled land until we finally made it to the Sound!!

We had a picnic lunch of bread & fruit out on the rocks, played around in the swampy, creek area near the footpath, took some epic photos, and then headed home. We made it back around dinner time, happy to hit the hay early and get a decent night's sleep before the adventure continued...

Some favorite photos from Milford Sound!:
Can you see Gabe sitting on the log and a tiny Erika on his left, doing the NZ pose in the background?Woo hoo, jolly leprechaun heel click!:Handstand #452816389 :)

1 comment:

  1. Handstands and snowmen and glaciers, oh my!!! Very clever upside down picture of the mountain's reflection. :)