Monthly Archives: February 2012

New Zealand’s Southernmost Point

Since I didn’t get to the Bluff, I was lucky enough to get some photos from Alba. Enjoy!

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Filed under Attraction, Nature, New Zealand, Travel

Invercargill’s Fastest Indian

Our next stop on our tour of the South Island was Invercargill and the Bluff, New Zealand’s southernmost point. When we arrived, we booked into Tuatara Backpackers. It seemed a little disorganized when we checked in but perhaps that worked in my favor. I ended up in a six-bed dorm with only Alba as a roommate. Other people were in four or six-bed dorms stuffed to the gills.

After getting settled, most of my busmates accompanied our driver to the Bluff. I wish I could’ve gone too since this would’ve rounded out my visits to both the northernmost and southernmost points in New Zealand. Unfortunately, I was still feeling under the weather and decided to check out the town before going to bed early again.

After getting a quick bite to eat at the southernmost McDonald’s in the country (at least I made it to this landmark), I took a walk around town through a small garden area. I also visited a hardware store where there were displays of motorcycles, including some of Burt Munro’s famous bikes.

Munro was a resident of Invercargill who set some land speed records in the 1950s and 1960s at the Bonneville Flats in Utah. A movie, The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins was made about his life. It’s a great movie, by the way, and I recommend you watch it if you haven’t. It was incredible to me to see the old bikes. I have no knowledge of motorcycles at all, but it was very cool that some of them were used in the movie.

After walking a bit to do some errands, one of which was to buy more cough medicine, my energy began to fail so I headed back to the hostel to rest up for tomorrow. After a bowlful of soup and a glass of orange juice later I was ready for a good night’s rest.

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Filed under Accommodation, Attraction, New Zealand, Travel

Cruising Milford Sound

Alba and I checked out of our hostel in Queenstown very early on an extremely cold morning. It would only get colder as we continued south. I had the beginnings of a cold (a sore throat and just overall tiredness) and was wary of the chill in the air. There was frost-like snow on the ground, but the bus stops for no one and nothing. I hopped on and tried to get some sleep.

I don’t remember much of the three-hour drive to Te Anau. The day was cloudy and cold and fog hindered any chance of a view. When we arrived in Te Anau, we booked our Milford Sound cruise for the afternoon and hit up a grocery store. I stocked up on some cold medicine, hoping it would at least dampen the effects of my cold, and fruit juice for a boost of vitamin C. Then we continued on to Milford, making several stops for photo opps despite the snow. I skipped most of them and huddled in the bus where it was slightly warmer than outside.

At Milford Sound, we got on a boat and cruised the fjord. The beauty of Milford Sound is immediate. Some places seem to gradually evolve from nothing to something, but Milford is startlingly amazing from the onset. We were surrounded by sheer cliff walls that towered high above us. With all the recent rain and snow, there were dozens of waterfalls flowing. Long stretches of fluffy white clouds seemed low enough to touch. Everything was truly incredible to see and lived up to all the hype surrounding this famous tourist attraction. Milford Sound really embodied all that is great about New Zealand.

During the 45-minute cruise, I began to feel even worse. I wished I could enjoy the sights even more, but I’d had enough and took shelter inside the ship where it was warmer. After docking, we headed to Gunns Camp, which turned out to be a back-to-nature type of accommodation. We settled into five different historical cabins that housed up to six people. There were two tiny rooms joined together by a small sitting area with a wood and coal-burning stove. In separate buildings there were kitchen and bathroom facilities. However, I was ready for bed and quickly showered, ate some soup and tried to get some rest. All said and done, it was probably 5:00 pm when I went to sleep.

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Filed under Accommodation, Attraction, Nature, New Zealand, Travel