Today would be on of the most beautiful days of our trip. The night before we had checked the weather and it looked like it was safe to head to Milford Sound. We had a lot of miles to cover, and we would also be heading into some areas that were used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t really do too much research, but I can assure you that even without having the exact points plotted out, the areas we would go through today were stunning and more than worthy of a movie location. For your future plans to visit New Zealand, here are the sites of some LOTR locations.
Our first stop after the tunnel was The Chasm; a short hike to a, well, a chasm, that had unique rock formations from the swirling water, and another set of bridges to walk over the blue water. When we were ready, we competed the road to the end, where we found a completely full parking lot, and cars circling, and many groups and tour buses. An attendant pointed for us to park in a yellow area, where my only mishap of the entire trip would happen. I had already put the kickstand down, when Frank asked me to pull forward to give him more room, and the kickstand must of hit the ground and moved back a bit, because when I tried to get off the bike it went down. My ankle was right next to the curb, and for half a second I actually thought “oh no! this is going to break my leg!” But luckily the hard luggage landed on the curb, keeping the bike up and off my leg. The side luggage was intact but pretty scratched up, and I was simmering in anger for doing that. (I’ll just blame Frank since he made me move forward, he he). I hadn’t dropped a bike since I was learning in 2000. Oh, well.
We walked to the boat docks and terminal. We had not made any reservations ahead of time, but we walked up to one of the many tour counters and quickly found a tour that was leaving in 15 min. We literally bought our tickets and walked out and boarded the boat. Fantastic timing again! [SIDENOTE: I get seasick, so I searched for a counter that might sell Dramamine. I finally found one, and as she was selling me the 3 pills I inquire about the brand that I have never heard of and she says, “they’re organic” to which I reply, “oh, that means they won’t work, huh?”. She was confused, I had no other choice, so I gambled my $3 and headed to the boat. I took 2 pills and crossed my fingers, Frank took the other]
Paul and Catherine told us that we couldn’t have picked a better day to be out on Milford Sound. There was no rain, blue skies, and a breeze to keep away the Sand Flies, (spawn of the devil with wings. I was bit by one two days ago and all I wanted to do was scratch my leg off) The Tour boat ride on Milford sound was for 1 hr 40 min, and I was so glad we decided to go out. Towering mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife surrounded us while our boat captain injected some humor into his routine speech about the area. I got the feeling he has done this quite a few times. We stayed up top to get the best pictures, even thought was super windy. It was a gorgeous day.
We finished the day by riding back south to the city of Manapouri, where we stayed at a little camping village with cabins and little houses. I could do a post just about that place. We stepped back in time, where there where old cars parked everywhere, old fasioned phones, the clerk in the office used a ledger book to write our names and room number down, and they gave us a key. A real key. This would be great place to take your family for a week vacation to camp, boat, swim and make summer memories. We finished off the night sitting outside in the sun looking at Lake Manapouri, with some of the best fish and chips, lots of beer, and I tried an L&P soda for the first time. It stands for Lemon & Paeroa, a lemon flavored soda similar to spite or 7-up, but more natural tasting. It is also made with mineral water from the town Paeroa, and is World Famous in New Zealand. Because it stays light out so late we probably sat outside till 10pm, enjoying new foods, new friends and making new memories. Life is good.