Milford Sound, Christchurch, Kaikoura, Wellington
After a night out watching The Cuban Brothers who are apparently the biggest comedy act in the UK at the moment (!) it was an early start to get out to Milford Sound often referred to as the prettiest area in New Zealand. This place had a lot to live up to. It was a 5 hour bus journey to get there, only broken up with a couple of little photo stops. Once there, it was onto a boat for a 2 and a half hour cruise of the sounds. It definately lived up to its billing. Snow capped glaciers, waterfalls topped up by a couple of heavy days rain, dolphins swimming up the sounds and mirror reflections of the peaks. We stopped half way to go into the underwater observatory. The sounds attract wildlife normally only found at least 30m deep, but here was present at 9m. This included black coral, which was actually white, so now i am among just 0.002% of people in the world to have seen it.
Next day, we finished our loop of the south island back at Christchurch. En route, we stopped off to see the stunning views of Mount Cook over both Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo – the latter being particularly pretty. Once in Christchurch, it was goodbye to those flying out of New Zealand.
We, however, were headed to the North Island, so this meant doing the trip between Christchurch and Picton for a second time. Spent the night in Kaikoura, then drove to Picton where we boarded the ferry to Wellington.
This morning, we went to the Te Papa Museum, the museum of New Zealand. Full of Maori culture. Spent a good few hours there before wandering through the shops. After that, we took the cable car up to the top of the peak and walked down again via the botanic gardens.