Te Anua and Milford Sound

 Right now as I'm typing, a grand-scale protest is happening a few blocks away. We are chilling at home for the day, watching the news, entertaining the kids, and hoping for the best. My mind still wanders back to New Zealand and all our adventures there. Our fourth day in NZ was the day we left Queenstown, and the lovely 12 Mile Delta Campground, and headed for a one-in-a-lifetime experience at Milford Sound.

The journey from Queenstown to the lodge at Milford Sound was the most amazing drive ever. It began with a long road that skirted the lake and led you back into farmland. Gradually, there were fewer and fewer sheep, and in the distance you could see the tallest snow-capped peaks.

We stopped the RV whenever we felt like it, and would get out and stretch our legs. Sometimes we lept. We stopped at a trail called the Mt. Earl Tracks, and the boys thrilled us by eagerly hiking over mud and hills and narrow log bridges. We took turns crossing this wire bridge, even though the thought of my boys slipping made my heart race. It really wasn't that dangerously high, though, so it was a lot of fun and an all-natural thrill.

Incredibly, we didn't bump into another soul on our little hike. So it was just us and the beautiful almost-untouched New Zealand forest. I would love to go back in a few years and do some longer treks. I mean, lets not forget my little guy is only 3. He didn't make us carry him or anything, but we always keep our expectations reasonable enough for him. We gave up the strollers and carriers last year, so wherever we go, he's on his own little legs!

Little P enjoyed the trip too, particularly the amazing tunnel to Milford Sound, where you have to drive through the heart of a mountain down a steep slope! Out the other side you have to navigate a series of hooking curves down a wild incline. Meanwhile, on either side of you are sharp mountains with cascading waterfalls and mounds of snow. It was unreal.

After hours of one gorgeous sight after another, we arrived at the Milford Sound Lodge, and scooted into our little spot for the night. Luckily, we had enough food in the fridge, because we discovered there is very little at Milford Sound at all-just a hotel/campground, a bar and visitors center, and a small airport. While we settled in, our neighbors returned to their car to find a kia had made itself at home with their food, and had tipped over their beer bottles and raided their snacks. With some good humor, they shooed it away. So the warnings were true.

The next morning we hopped the first cruise in the Sound, excited to see the waterfalls and sights I had only seen on TV. It was spectacular- We enjoyed a morning of seals, fresh air, waterfalls, and the most gorgeous fjord to be ever carved out by a glacer. At one point the boat took us practically under a waterfall, and the boys squealed and were nearly soaked.

 We had planned on spending a second night, but as the excursion companies refused to let us kayak with small children, we decided to head out that afternoon. In order to get to the glaciers, we would have to loop back up the Queenstown and around, so we set off again slowly, savoring all the sights along the way.

After a night of rest at Lake Hawea, we were ready to see some glaciers!