Monday, May 2, 2011

Mid-Semester Break: Queenstown/Milford Sounds back to Auckland!

This will be the last of the "Mid-Semester Break" posts. I think this one will finally bring to life all of the adventures Katie and I had! I left off with a description of our short time in Dunedin. I believe I wrote about flying to Queenstown, which is odd because Katie and I actually took a bus, I'm sorry I must have been tired after writing about all of our Dunedin adventures.
Katie and I took the lastest bus out of Dunedin to Queenstown and the YHA Hostel there. After about two hours into our trip the sun had completely set, and this should have left the beautiful landscapes in darkness if it hadn't had been for the huge, bright, and beautiful full moon. Seeing the landscape lit by moonlight was truly a wonderful sight that I will not soon forget.
Katie and I arrived at the YHA, and immediately booked a skydive for 7:30 the next morning. So with that exciting morning planed ahead we settled in and went straight to bed. The alarm rang very early that morning and before we knew it we were in a gray and red jumpsuit in a plane, attached to some strange, and rather handsome, Kiwi man about to jump ship!
Katie and I were lucky because they had just had there first snow the day before, which meant that Katie and I got to jumped out of a plane 12,000 ft above Queenstown's snowy mountains, green-blue lake, and green sheep laden fields. It was truly magical, and the moment I touched ground, I asked if I could do it again. They laughed.
By the time we got back to town it was only 9 am, so we had a leisurely and delicious breakfast in a small cafe then planned for a small hike up the sky-gonadal trail. Unfortunately, we got some bad directions and ended up on a rather strenuous trail. I had gotten a cold after all of the water activities in Rotorua and the wet Dunedin tours, so I quickly realized that thes hike was getting the better of me. I ended up leaving Katie to summit the rest of the mountain while I took a much needed nap.
We after Katie hiked, and I napped we decided to try some of New Zealand's wines at the a small Queenstown Wine Cafe. This small winery has over 80 NZ wines available for tastings. So Katie and I split a tasting card, and spent an hour or so tasting wines and enjoying a NZ cheese plate. Feeling good, we then went out for an amazing Thi meal, and then to a long awaited bed.
But once again, our alarm went off around 6:30 in the morning in order to awaken us for our bus and cruse to and through the Milford Sounds. It is so hard to convey to you the amount of beauty we experienced that day. With each turn of the bus or around each bend in the bay of the Sounds, a new a fantastic sight was there. We saw dolphins feeding in the Tasman sea, young male seals sunning themselves one huge amassing mountains, and a barracuda even jumped out of the water for us. Katie and I were just amazed by the awesome mountains covered in wild and untouched vegetation. This must be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
After our bus and cruse, we were surprisingly tired and even more hungry, so we went to Fergburger. Ferbgurger is famous in Queenstown for have strange and immensely large burgers. I tried a venison burger with plumb sauce (titled Little Bambi), and Katie had a beef burger with pineapple, both of which were more than memorable. Exhausted and full Katie and I managed to book a three hour horse trek to Paradise View in Queenstown for the next morning.
Katie and I really wanted to ride while we were here together, so both of us were so excited to do this in Glenarchy, only 50 away from Queenstown. Katie and I enjoyed the small farm which was a live with horses, pigs and their piglets, and several friendly dogs and cats. We trekked on horseback through rivers, forests and glades, and we even stopped on a high look out. There we got to see the gorgeous Paradise Vally where tons of famous movies were filmed including Lord of the Rings, Lovely Bone, and Wolverine. It was a great way to end our time in Queenstown.
On an afternoon flight to Auckland, Katie and I both enjoyed some well needed rest in time to have dinner with one of my friends.
Keri, Katie, and I all went to a late dinner and chatted about living abroad, we even convinced Keri to come and hike Rangitoto with us the next day. Again Katie and I rose early, and before our ferry to Rangitoto, we wanted to walk the Domain and look through the winter garden. The plan was then to eat a nice breakfast and hike the volcano, but we forgot it was Good Friday, and that most of the cafe's were closed. So a little hungry we met up with Keri, and hiked the beautiful volcano and enjoyed some home made PB and J's at the summit.
This last adventure brought my sister's stay, and my break, to a close. Katie and I had such a blast, and being able to tell it to you all allows me to relive it. Katie thank you so much for coming I couldn't ask for a better sister!

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