Story of some Brits living in New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere Winter in 2004
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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Milford Sound - Kayaking Around - Drove to Dunedin

Awoke fairly early in time for our pick-up at the lodge at 8.30 by a super jolly guide (Will) from Fiordland Wilderness Experience. We awoke early mindful of our previous trip with FWE where we managed a super faff about 6am outside Bill and Daphne's house in preparation for our multi-day Doubtful Sound trip.

Geared up and ready to go. Yet another example that one brother has style (even in rented clothing) and one seems sadly lacking

Gear for the Milford Trip was a little less comprehensive than what we got for the previous trip to Doubtful Sound. We were only issued 2 hats instead of three(!), and got a wetsuit vest rather than long john suit, and the boats were plastic instead of fibre glass. Overall though, we have been extremely impressed with the gear and general organisation of the FWE tours on both this trip and the Doubtful Sounds trip.

Ann-Marie at the rudder end

What a spot for a lunch break!

Will supplied hot drinks but was rather taken aback that only one of us Brits wanted Tea!! We took the lunch opportunity to look at the map and were quite surprised that we'd seen penguins swimming near "penguin tree" on the map, and a seal on a rock at about "seal rock". This made us begin to suspect that this was some kind of elaborate robot show and checked the map again in case we'd missed "Dolphin Corner".

After lunch the kayaking got a bit more strenuous as we got into a more exposed part of the sound before we rafted up the kayaks. Actually, this was quite a performance as the kayaks needed to raft up altogether to make sure they were all still facing the same way before the current turned the raft around. One crazy girl on the rudder of my brothers boat managed to crash into everyone and continually zig zag making rafting up in rather large waves quite tricky and tiring. We eventually got it sorted and stuck a sail up to head back to base.

The sail proved less effective than we'd seen in Doubtful Sound. Perhaps due to the wind, or the plastic boats, or bigger raft - still fun though. Dodging the shipping lane was also quite entertaining. Will was trying to tell a Maori legend but kept getting distracted by our sailing troubles and shipping lane. It was quite a long story!

AM, Doug and me in Sandfly Point (sure enough, Sandflies in evidence)

Overall we had an EXCELLENT trip for a very good price, with a great guide. Wouldn't hesisitate to recommend these FWE folks to anyone, they really know what they're doing and their guides are excellent (well, Adrian and Will are anyway).

At the end of a long day we opted for a long drive to Dunedin to continue our trip. Doug did loads of the driving tonight, the first time he has easily stayed awake into the night.

A little way out of the tunnel from Milford Sound we came upon quite a number of Kea and stopped to say hello, and to give them the chance to tear our car apart.

Kea Patrol

Kea up close and personal (Whose idea was it to open the door?)

We hastily left, just about unscathed and just about free from extra passengers. For wild animals, Kea are very tame.

Had a reasonable feed at the "Howl at the Moon" in Gore. Managed to catch Doug out a bit with the specials board, which we had earlier deduced was exactly the same as the menu. It went like this, "don't forget to check out the specials board". "OK, hey, that Blue Cod is on the menu as well". The whole specials board was on the menu too, very odd decoration. Happy to leave that place and get to Dunedin for 11.30pm to a pretty decent motel.


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