••• tiff firth photography •••

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Zealand Day 5 6.8.2013

6am alarm bell this morning to catch our bus to Milford Sound. I had heard about the switchbacks heading to the Sound so the kids and I had our Quells tablets with breakfast this morning. I think it was a combination of the tabs, the early morning starts and the late night’s blogging that puffed me out.  I slept on the bus for the first couple of hours. Both kids did too.

After stopping at Te Anau for the coffee/loo stop we had several photographic stops from there onwards. Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Homer Tunnel, Fiordland National Park, Knobs Flat for another quick loo stop and Chrisite’s Falls before arriving at Milford Sound.

Low clouds hugged the tops of the mountains adding to the mysterious aura of the Fiord. We went on the cruise ship and had our sumptuous hot lunch while working our way to the mouth of the Sound. We had the obligatory drenching under the waterfalls, watched misty rain fall, and watched the dolphins, penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals all play. Mitre Peak stands as the centrepiece of the glacier carved valley with her top closely shrouded by cloud.

Sean spent some time on the bridge with the Captain, Annie had her camera out shooting with me and Kym made his way around the three decks.

Annie eventually plucked up the courage to stand with me at the very tip of the ship to get a thorough experience of the waterfalls, its thundering noise and the spray. She won’t be forgetting that in a hurry. She and I have taken a heap of photos which I've just dumped on the hard drives as I just don’t have the energy to go through them now.

We all had an opportunity to take the helicopter back to Queenstown via a landing on the Glacier that carved Milford Sound. (for a hefty price tag). Kym just looked at me and said go. So I did.

What an thrilling chance to take up. I took a few shots and filmed the landing and the take-off from the Glacier. The snow was pure and flawless. Not a single impression of anyone being there before us. (At least for that day.) The wind chill made it feel much colder than it was. I tried to roll up a snowball with my bare hands only to find the snow too dry to stay as a ball. But by hands were immediately turning pink with cold due to the breeze. As I walked on the snow my feet crunched down about a foot. It was so dry and powdery looking. Much more like crunchy icing sugar. I should have done a snow angel there in hindsight as it was so dry.

Take off was exhilarating because you just fly above the crest of the glacier and the world just dropped away on the other side. It just plunged straight down. I had more of an exciting sensation of it today than I did at the Grand Canyon when I choppered off the South Rim into the air above the Canyon.

So a half an hour flight and a 20 minute taxi ride (part of the deal) saved me a 3.5 hour trip back via coach. Kym brought the kids back on the coach and they were all rather shattered by the time they got back here about 7.45pm. I had tea cooked but they were beyond hungry by then. Just showered, nibbled a bit of tea to be polite and straight to bed.

We are back on the ski slope at Remarkables tomorrow. The weather looks like it might be taking a turn for the worse. We have had 2 sensational days of sunshine on the slopes so far, and the overcast day which was perfect for capturing Milford Sound with all her mystery, so we have been truly spoilt.


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