I'm writing this restrospectively again as we are now in Rotorua and it's been a few days since we stopped in Queenstown. A few packed days mind you. The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown was spectacular just as all the driving on the South Island was. It really is the most beautiful place. Sometimes very reminiscent of North Wales or the Highlands of Scotland. At times it felt as if there was an awe-inspiring sight round every corner. (I'm hoping to upload some photos over the next few days, hangovers permitting!)
Our stay in Queenstown did not start well. We drove into the campsite, turned off the engine to book in and couldn't get the key out of the ignition! We drove to our site and powered in but still couldn't get the key out. We had taken longer than we had thought to get to Queenstown and we had already missed the start of the South Africa v Australia match but hoped to catch the end and see the New Zealand v Argentina match. However, it took so long to get hold of anyone to come out to the van, and even when they did they couldn't do anything, that we missed nearly all of both quarter-final matches. My biggest concern was that we wouldn't be able to go on the Milford Sound trip the next say because we couldn't leave the van with the keys in the ignition. The people at the campsite were very good though and offered to sit and watch the van for us so that we wouldn't miss our trip.
The next day we got up, went down to reception to be picked up and as we were waiting the man for the van arrived. We went off to Milford Sound fairly relaxed and hopeful things would be sorted one way or another when we got back.
As per a previous entry, we had booked a fly-cruise-fly option because of time constraints so were taken to a small airfield ready to board a tiny prop plane. I had been worried that there would be a problem because of my size but it wasn't the case although flexibility was needed to haul yourself into the seat. The flight was amazing, across the mountains with fantastic views of snow-capped mountains, lakes and remote farmsteads. We arrived at Milford Sound and boarded a smallish boat and went off for a couple of hours. It really is an amazing place; 1400 feet of rain a year, 1000 earthquakes a month and flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. The best time to see it is when it is raining or it has been raining for a number of days. Unfortunately for us and unusually there had been no rain for 9 days but even so there were a number of beautiful waterfalls and even some fur seals sunning themselves.
After we got back to the dock we had to get back on the plane. The pilot decided he was going to move us around which meant I had less room to manoeuvre this time! So I hauled myself up and threw myself across the two seats only to bounce off the seats, fly through the air and land in the footwell between the pilot's seat and my seat. Apparently, according to Var, all she saw was my backside in the air, hanging out of the plane! The flight back was even more spectacular as we took a different route. When we landed back at the airport we were told that the weather had drawn in and that we were the last flight out for that day.
We got back to the campsite to find that the van had been fixed (computer error) and so got ready to go into Queenstown for some retail therapy and some food. For some reason we had been living on toast for the last few days so were in desperate need of proper food. Queenstown is beautiful and we both would have liked more time there. We shopped and found the loveliest restaurant to eat in. We both had fillet mignon, cooked to perfection and headed back to the van ready for another day of driving to our next adventure.