30 April 2010

rainy adventures... part 2

The Milford adventure continues. Where was I? Oh, yeah, so we got on our lovely rescue boat with our wisecracking captain. Since we didn't even get to see Milford Sound, we were thinking about driving down there. Turns out that road is closed due to flooding. Ok, plan B. We'll at least get a day and a half in Queenstown. Oh, no, says el capitan, ALL roads are closed. No one can get out of Te Anau till at least tomorrow. Eeks! we all say to each other. Hmm...plan C...
We decide that Lisa and Zeb (whose car is in Te Anau, unlike ours, which was a half hour away in Te Anau Downs) will jump in the car and look for a place to stay (after all, this will be 120 people needing accommodation), while we try and get our car. Oh, yeah, did I mention that the internet and phones were down too?
So they take off and then I wander to a counter to ask about who to call tomorrow to find out about the roads so we can get to Queenstown. 'Oh,' they say, 'no worries, you can get out tonight if you want to.' WHAT??? Seriously. I wish these peeps would have had a powwow prior to telling the entire boat that there was no way out. Now, we did have to go about 20 minutes out of our way, but still able to get to Queenstown that evening. So we round up the troops, have Lisa and Zeb cancel the three rooms they just got, and they take off to Queenstown. We were a bit behind them, as we had to wait for Josh, who was on the shuttle getting our car. GOODNESS!
But everyone finally gets to Queenstown all in one piece (though we did drive through a lake on one of the roads--just some surface flooding, no biggie!), we found a comfy hotel, and ate yummy food.
Wake up the next day and take a drive to Glenorchy. According to wikipedia,Glenorchy is a small settlement nestled in spectacular scenery at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu in the South Island. It is approximately 45 kilometres by road or boat from Queenstown, the nearest large town. There was some filming here for the first Lord of the Rings movie too. One of my travel guides also said that the Coors beer mountains (on the label) are from this range. I have no idea about that one!
Anyway, on to pictures!
Here's a view of the super steep road (right next to our posh hotel) Dan had to park the car on.

Gorgeous views of the lake and mountains on the way to Glenorchy!

And then there's this helpful mountain graph (though hard to read on this picture...)

Good stuff.

Just a wider view of the above picture.

Then we get to Glenorchy and it starts to POUR. Hmm, just like the rest of the trip! We did run into this van, though...I thought that it was kinda scary!!

Here's a view of Queenstown--it's only a small town (population is only about 10,000), but is touted as the 'adventure capital' of the world. Or New Zealand. But it's in the mountains (awesome!), which is why planes can't land sometimes because of all the clouds and things.

Then we took a gondola up the very steep hillside, with great views. Smile, kids!

Dan as a kiwi, I'm a sheep.

And Chell really got in touch with her furry (woolly??) side.

And this was in the bathroom. I thought it was funny.

Views from the top of the gondola.

Lisa and Zeb, lookin' pretty as always. I think it's the powder.

We fit in a bird so well!

The local paper talking about the flooding.

Our kick ass apartment that Lisa found for us--three bedrooms, three bathrooms, equipped kitchen, great views! It was perfect. It was the Mantra Marina--we've decided that we'll have to stay there again in 2012.

That night we went to Minus 5, which is an ice bar. It was cold, but not as cold as the ice bar in Minneapolis!

It had really fun colored lights, and cool (haha, funny) sculptures.

Lisa, what DID you just drink to make a face like that?? :)

Again, a motley crew. Nice parkas, though, hey? You get to borrow them with the price of admission. Uggs, too!

My very yummy cocktail.

The next day we had to leave (Josh and I back to Hawera, Dan to Auckland, Mike and Chell to Christchurch, and Lisa and Zeb were driving to the glaciers), but before that Josh and Mike had to get a little bungy jumping in, which is perfect, as the bridge they went on is the first permanent commercial bungy site in the world. We went to Kawarau Bridge Bungy, which was started by a dude named AJ Hackett.

Look at this crazy shot! The only thing really in focus is Josh's butt!

Mikey's turn. He took it at a sprint!

And then he swan dived! Or dove, or whatever!

Usually you can go head first and get your head or torso dunked, but the river was so high they wouldn't let anyone for safety reasons. And the river is usually a gorgeous blue green, but hte colors were muted cause of all the rain.

A view from the bungy site.

We were going to stop at this lovely little winery for lunch, but the darn thing was closed! Still makes a pretty picture, though.

There were lots of fun fall colors around Queenstown--NZ doesn't have a lot of native deciduous trees, so it was cool to see.

More great scenery on the way to the airport.

And from the plane!

We had such a great time with all of our visitors, and a very busy April! Thanks again to all of you folks who have made the trek over (and those who still might!), we love you and miss you!
PS...Dan, Josh was lamenting your absence yet again during our hike this weekend. Any chance you'll just come back? :)

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