Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Land of the Long White Cloud

What a great week. John's back is on the mend, thank goodness. We spent three days in the Fiordland National Park. Which was very cool. We drove up a spectacular road to Milford sound and took a cruise early the following morning. Sara even did a mini hike, and saw with horror where the Routeburn track was going in the distance! An interesting fact about Milford sound, it rains 182 days a year, and it is not unusual to have the British annual rainfall in 3 days. We were very lucky to hit it between rain storms.

Then we returned to the Queenstown area for three nights. We drove up into an area where we were surrounded by snow capped mountains. We camped two nights on the side of a deserted gravel road, prime photography. Sara managed to arrange a horse ride, called the Ride of the Rings. It took us to numerous Lord of the Rings locations used in the first movie. Breathtaking views were everywhere.

Then back to Queenstown, where on the spur of the moment we sailed on NZL 14, the 1992 America's cup NZ racing yacht. The winds hit 20 knots while we were on the lake, it was a blast. John has some great photos which we will upload when we find somewhere that allows uploading.

The next morning in Queenstown we were watching and photographing the paragliders land in a school yard. One guy had a slight front edge collapse, which corrected itself right away. We went over to talk to him, turns out he was from NM and is on the US paragliding team, and set a world record in time and duration with a Paraglider in Texas recently. Small world.

We are at Mount Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand, and is quite spectacular. We have been lucky to have a clearing in the clouds so we can actually see all the mountains. We found out the name of our van means Land of the Long White Cloud, now we know why! We are very excited to see blue skies today, and the mountains.

Queenstown and Mount Cook Photos

We are heading to the East coast to swim with the Dolphins, should be fantastic. We talked to one girl that did it, and she said there were hundreds of Dolphins.

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