Storms, Waterfalls, West To East, Chocolate, Seal Attack, Struggling Up Sand, Steep Roads, Butterflies
After Queenstown Tracy, Emma and I set off on the long drive to Milford Sound. The drive was OK, quite picturesque, but couldn't help but feel wrong about driving straight towards the dark rainy area in front of us when it was so sunny and nice back the way we came. It rained nearly the whole time we were in Milford, alternating between pelting rain in hardcore storms (causing power cuts and everything) to gentle showers, I had never been more glad to not be camping. On the day of our boat tour the wind was so bad in the morning that everything was getting canceled, however it calmed down in the afternoon and luckily we had booked the latest tour; so we were all good (we even had 10 minutes of sun at the end). So we headed out for our cruise and enjoyed the scenery whilst getting told some Milford related facts (Milford Sound is actually a fjord not a sound (a fjord is made by a glacier, a sound is made by a river), Milford only has 2 permanent waterfalls (there were thousands when we were there because of all the rain), 9 days without rain is considered a drought (which doesn't happen very often) and such like). Even though it was grey and overcast, the scenery was still pretty beautiful, and we got to stand underneath a waterfall (they told us to go outside and have a "once in a lifetime experience" of standing near such a big waterfall, and I laughed to myself thinking clearly these people have never been canyoning in Wanaka). The next day we headed off, glad we visited, but happy to get away from the rain and the millions of sand-flies.
We then spent the day driving from West to East to Dunedin (an uneventful, but LONG drive) and set up base at Penny's hostel. Our first full day in Dunedin involved a wander round the town, and then a trip to the Cadbury factory. The tour itself was relatively interesting, but really we were there for the free chocolate we got given at random points of the tour. Other than seeing the factory (and getting the idea that working in the factory would be awful as everyone walking round looked miserable, not like the jolly characters in the information dvd we watched at the beginning at all) we also got to watch a ton of chocolate fall out the ceiling (I don't know who thought that was a valuable addition to the tour, a waste of chocolate in my opinion, and actually quite alarming as I was expecting a nice gentle waterfall, when actually it THUNDERED down the chute). All in all it was a well worthwhile tour and would recommend it to anyone visiting Dunedin, and even though we had been given lots of free chocolate, we then proceeded to the shop to buy lots MORE chocolate (at actually very reasonable prices). To save ourselves sitting inside eating chocolate until we were sick, we decided that evening to go to a local pub quiz, where we put in a stellar performance and came joint second last out of 19, showing a University education is just not sufficient to perform well in life.
Our First Free Chocolate Bar and the Attractive Hair Nets You Have To Wear Round The Factory
Small Selection Of Chocolate Bars In The Shop After The Tour
The following day Emma and Tracy had a tour booked on a scenic railway, which I wasn't excessively keen to join for the price (they had a voucher) so I decided to walk off some of the chocolate and go to Otago Peninsula to check out the walking trails. I headed to Sandymount reserve and walked along the cliffs (I spied some climbers on some epic looking routes, and watched them for a while as I was interested to see what they would do when they got to the massive section of choss, but after about 15mins I lost interest and headed on my way). I then reached a sign which said Sandfly bay (I tried not to get put off by the name) was a mere 2.5km walk away, so decided to give that a visit, however I didn't expect to walk all that way over sand dunes; It was OK on the walk down, but walking uphill in the sand was way less fun; though it was still a really pretty walk.
Ron Enjoying The View At Otago Peninsula
Once I arrived at the beach I strolled down the sand and came across a seal lying on the beach. lovely, I thought, I will take a picture, oh its moving, that's nice I can take a picture of a sitting up seal, that will be much better. Then it promptly put on a mean face and RAN at me, which was actually quite terrifying. I made a bit of an undignified yelp and ran off it the opposite direction (luckily I am much more agile on land than a seal). Anyway I retreated to what I thought was a safe distance to sit on a bit of driftwood, and was just contemplating eating my lunch when out the corner of my eye I saw the same seal running down the beach towards me (taking regular breaks to collapse in the sand for a few seconds every now and then). I could see that I had gained an enemy, so I decided to go further down the beach to get out of sight, so I started to walk with one eye over my shoulder when I practically tripped over another seal which looked exactly like a sandy piece of wood until it MOVED when I was right next to it. Needless to say I backed off pretty quick (more stumbled backwards in surprise as it was HUGE) and decided I wanted to get off the beach...(which involved dodging past the original seal). Once I was safely out of attack range, I sat on the sand dunes and watched the amusing sight of other people making the same mistake I had (one boy was actually kneeling next to a docile seal getting his friends to take a picture when it jumped up surprisingly quick and started towards him; his reaction was pretty comical).
Anyway after I had my fill of comedy, I started back up the sand dunes, which was mildly soul destroying. It took me FOREVER as you just cant travel efficiently uphill in sand, a few times I wanted to collapse and shout "Go on without me!" but there was no-one to listen to my dramatics, so instead I put "Eye of the Tiger" on my Ipod for motivation and kept trudging on (I didn't want to go too slow in case the seal was still following me)... Eventually I made it to the top and drove home (via the albatross center, where I didn't actually see an albatross), feeling like I definitely worked off some of my chocolate.
Uphill Mission (All Sand) To Get Back To The Car
Our Final full day in Dunedin involved jamming in some other tourist attractions; mainly visiting Baldwin street; The steepest street in the world (though after the sand struggle, walking up that street was nothing) and also a brief visit to the Botanical gardens (though we spent the majority of our time there playing in the kids playground and admiring the ducks).
Steepest Street In The World (Baldwin Street)
At lunch (after Emma and Tracy had caught their bus to Christchurch) I headed to the Museum, as I had heard there was an impressive room full of butterflies there. I ignored all the other exhibits (I didnt feel I had a sufficient attention span to wander round the whole museum, or learn anything) and headed straight to the tropical gardens, where I enjoyed being surrounded with butterflies, small birds and the odd turtle. I also allowed myself a wander round to look at all the stuffed animals and came across a giant Japanese Spider Crab, which looked terrifying; Martin was lucky my camera had run out of battery by this point, else he would have a horrifying photo on his facebook page.
After today I feel like I have done a sufficient amount of tourist activities to justify moving on, so tomorrow I will hopefully make my way to Mount Cook, to get out of the city and back to some picturesque mountains!