After two nights at Rotorua we were off to Queenstown on the South Island. Set in what they call the southern Alps, the town is a hub for South Island outdoor recreation and tourism. Winter sports—skiing, snow shoeing, etc—are available but it really comes to life in the summer. Hiking, biking, backpacking and much more is available.
After a bumpy flight in we did a quick drive around of the area and then lunched in the charming former mining town of Arrowtown, a few kilometers from Queenstown.
Day two found us on an incredible four hour drive to Milford Sound on the west coast. A direct route, as the crow flies, would have been a quarter of the distance we traveled but the land is so cut up with high mountains, lakes and valleys that there is no good direct route. The scenery made the drive worth while. The trip presents a kaleidoscope of green landscapes.
We’re told there are more sheep than people in NZ and I believe we saw most of them during the first half of our travels. Then we turned into the NZ Alps along the west coast. They deserve the name and are every bit as grand as the Swiss version.
The NZ Alps
The icing on the travel cake was the trip down 13 km long Milford Sound, one of 14 major fjords that slice the west coast of the island. It was eight bus hours but time well spent.