Dunedin was a relatively calm couple of days. Our jobs continued to be mostly weeding, tidying the house, and working on a couple of recipes. The weather was pretty gloomy up until the last day we were there so we didn’t actually get around to doing to much outdoor exploring. In the afternoon around 3:30 Emily-Rose (12) and Aly-May (10) came home from school and entertained us. Sometimes it was through endless renditions of Lorde’s new single Liability, sometimes it was painting (and re-painting) their nails, and other times it was just listening to their chaotic and dramatic tween lives (ah, what it was like to be pre-pubescent).
Our big ‘adventure’ if you will was chasing and finding Bowie the pup. This little cutie pie is actually a disguised escape artist… one of the days we were there I went outside to do some weeding. While Rachel was in the bathroom the wind blew the door open which gave Bowie a chance to show case his modest disappearing act. After about 10 minutes I saw him at the end of the driveway but this game of catch me if you can was only beginning. I chased this precious little rascal for about 40 minutes in the pouring rain – through people’s properties, around gardens, up Bruce’s-Mill-Cross-Country sized hills, and finally into the Port Chalmers Wharf where I finally caught him (cue Hallelujah chorus). Once I had a grip on Bowie’s collar I realized I didn’t have a leash for him. I was able to hitch hike back into the main town from the Wharf so I could figure out how to get back to the house – then I was able to poke my head into a shop, get directions, and carry this little fur-baby home. Back at the house I let Bowie back inside and then actually proceeded to go out into the garden and weed a path that was so overgrown it will like trying to rip up a lawn with 2 hands. Finally after this was over I went inside and had a glorious hot shower.
Sarah dropped us off in town on Thursday morning so would could explore central Dunedin before our 12pm bus. We visited Cadbury World and had delicious hot chocolates and then paroosed a bunch of thrift shops looking for some St. Patties gear.
Our bus took us to Queenstown and had us arriving at about 6pm. Rachel’s biking friend Harry was nice enough to volunteer to give these two rough Canadian gals a place to snooze for the night. We dropped off our stuff and then went into town to get the delicious and notorious Ferg Burger. I have to say it was pretty good but I think Devil Burger was better.
The next day Ash and Jeremy picked the three of us and took us to Milford Sound for a Saint Patrick’s day party put on by the people that Jeremy used to work for last summer (all the cruise companies that take you out into the sounds). On the drive there we stopped on the side of the highway and went for a small rock climb to a secret little swimming hole that overlooked the first valley of Milford Sound. SO COOL. And very special because we were told it’s a local secret.
The St. Patrick’s party began at 6:30 consisted of a bus dropping us off at a bridge 3km from the party base. We all got off and then walked to the party sipping some beers along the way. I know that probably sounds goofy but it was a really really fun time. They even had a full-on BBQ set up so that when we finished the walk there was hot food waiting for us.
The next morning we were still blessed with some Saint Patty’s luck – we had a brilliant brilliant blue sunny day out in Milford Sound (it rains in Milford something like 360 days of the year). Even luckier, because Jeremy worked for one of the cruise companies last summer, and he was able to get us on a free cruise out through the sounds (and it came with a buffet lunch!!).
I seriously didn’t think anything could get better and then the most magical wonderful incredible thing happened. We saw our first wild bottle nose dolphin. This was SO AWESOME I can’t even explain it. The dolphin loved our ship and cruised with us for a solid 30 minutes. We watched it hop in and out of waves and tumble in and around the bow of the boat.
When we were in Russell back in December, our first host Eddie, gave Rachel and I some necklaces that were bones carved beautifully into dolphins. After receiving that gift I have been dying to see a wild dolphin and seeing this little dude somehow made me feel like I had come full circle.
After the high from the cruise we had some snacks and drinks by the water while we supplied ample feeding for sand flies. According to Maori legends, a God-like figure, Tu-te-raki-whanoa, carved out the sounds with his blade creating the beautiful land scape. When he was done he invited all his God-like friends to see his creation. The Goddess of War, Hinenui-te-Po, saw how beautiful his masterpiece was and feared that it was so beautiful that humans would be frozen there and never want to leave. In order to prevent that from happening she released thousands and thousands of sandflies to ensure that people did stay for too long. Let me tell you she did a mighty fine job because those sand buggers will drive a person MENTAL.
March 18th happens to be Ash’s Birthday (which she sneakily kept under the radar for most of the day) so we decided to go out for dinner at the only restaurants/cafe in town to celebrate! We had a lovely dinner complete with wine and red Thai curry but we took so long to eat because we were having such a good time that they sort of kicked us out before we could really have dessert.. oops!
We left Milford Sound yesterday and made our long journey back to Queenstown stopping for a few little hikes and for a quick lunch break on the beach of Lake Te Anau.
When we got back Rach and I did some grocery shopping as we won’t really be seeing much civilization (back into the service-less country) for the next couple days. When we got back and finished our pasta dinner, Harry had some mates of his over and we just sat around the kitchen and chatted for the remainder of the evening. A perfect perfect way to sum up our Queenstown to Milford and back adventure.
Today we are off to the next exciting and deeply anticipated part of our trip.. MOUNT COOKE!! It doesn’t look like we will be arriving until later in the afternoon but Rach and I are hoping to get in a good hike.
Life is good, isn’t it? Rach and I have been as lucky as the Irish🍀🐛. Sending lots love from the Southern Alps of gorgeous New Zealand. ❤