No way I can describe in extenso those last four days. Too much ! Only one thing to say, if you ever have a chance to come this way in the southern hemisphere, not visiting New Zealand would be a big miss. I know that whenever you miss something great, you actually don't know what you are missing since you are missing it. But I am telling you, do not mis
s New Zealand, it is one of the most rewarding experience that I have lived so far. I have in my life travelled
extensively and seen a lot of the world and unfortunately, I am becoming increasingly harder to impress. Well, this tim
e round, I was impressed. Go and have a look at the New Zealand album. Still, it won't give justice to what we saw. You have to do it by yourself.
After Auckland, we flew to Queenstown on the 22nd. Only minor negative of the whole thing, was the hostel , called here a "backpackers", but this one being downtown Queenstown, turned out to be a central meeting point for most of the young people being in New Zealand to party at the end of their school holi
day. And partying they do well. They start at around 10 p.m. and keep at it until 4 in the morning, making sure they produce a maximum amount of noise, which we can hardly ignore since the disco is within the premises of the hostels ! And to spice it up, a fire alarm at 2 in the morning the first night. But, nothing bad enough to spoil for us what is to come.
On the 23rd, early in the morning, after breakfast at the local bakery, we leave by bus for Milford Soun
d on a 300 kilometres journey along a super super scenic route along the lake Wakatipau (the sleeping giant or something close) and then across the montains and through a tunnel towards Milford Sound and the Tasman sea. Once we got there, we went onto a small cruising boat that took us to the entrance of the Sound and back. It is hard to describe the majestic beauty of that place, the tall mountains, the snow cap, the water falls, the crystal blue water, and so on and so on....
After the cruise, we then flew back to Queenstown using a "scenic" flight in a 10 seater, kissing the top of the montains with the wing tips, or so it seemed, and again being bombarded with wonderful sceneries.
The next day, almost same scenario, with an early start, this time for a short bus ride to Glenorchy at the northern end of the lake, foll
owed by an exhilarating ride on a Jet Boat 20 miles up the river, in sometimes no more than 8 inches of water, brushing the rocks seeded here and there in the middle of the river, all that at more than 40 knots. This mixtur
e of superb sceneries, somehow scary ride, a little bit of exe
rcise on a 20 minutes walk up the river, the nice personality of the driver, all that results in a cocktail of very pleasing experiences like I have never felt before.
Back in Queenstown on the same bus ride, we took a 90 minutes cruise around the bay in Queenstown, just to relax and allow our mind to digest all that we have experienced in those two days.
We flew back to Auckland the next day, bought some fish that we know we won't find in Whangarei, and after lunch with Nigel and Joanna we drove back to Whangarei.
Back to work ! As soon as I stepped in the marina, I was told that they had to replace the seal on the raw water pump and that they could not find a single one in the whole of New Zealand and ordered one from Singapore, of all places ! Fortunately, by noon today, they found one in Auckland and I should be able to leave the marina and go and get the mast restepped on Thursday. So, we are still on track . . . .