Q and I woke up early on Saturday morning (Nov 22nd) and, after a quick breakfast, packed the car for our weekend adventure. The day and the weather forecast didn’t look very promising, so we weren’t in much of a rush to get to Queenstown. On our way, we stopped in Cromwell to get a coffee and then at Mount Iron to do a short hike for some views of the area. Sadly, it was quite clouded over, so I didn’t get any good pics, but the walk itself was a good workout and a nice stretch of the legs after the car ride. We then continued into Wanaka, stopping to look around there for a bit at the shore of Lake Wanaka before continuing onto Queenstown.
Upon reaching Queenstown, we were starving so we stopped for a Fergburger – a notorious spot with arguably the best burger I’ve ever had. The only annoying part was waiting 45 minutes for them to make our burgers. I found out later though, that the easiest thing to do is call and order on the phone and then pick it up later. With a few hours to kill still and the weather not looking promising for great views, we opted to go to a winery in the area. The one we chose was called Chard Farms and I ended up choosing a bottle to take back to the hostel with us to have with out spaghetti. We stopped by the AJ Hackett bungee location (the first official commercial bungee jump in the world) then went back to the hostel to prepare dinner.
After dinner, the weather had started to clear up, so we decided to go for a walk around Queenstown. The sun was starting to set, but you could finally make out the mountains and it became clear why they’re called The Remarkables. We popped into a pub to have a couple of drinks. They had a great band, but drinks were almost $10 each for simple things like rye and coke, so we headed back to the hostel. We booked our Milford Sound boat cruise ticket for the following afternoon and hit the hay.
In the morning, we were up early again and this time the sun was out! We made a quick breakfast at the hostel then packed and were on our way. We decided to leave much earlier than needed so we could stop along the way for pictures. The drive from Queenstown to Milford was truly amazing. It was hands down the most beautiful drive I’ve ever experienced. I took lots of pictures. Below is one of my faves.
When we got to Te Anau, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at Miles Better Pies for a chicken pie. (Mince meat, chicken, etc pies were a big thing for takeaway.) Then we continued our journey towards Milford (of course stopping more times for pictures on the way).
When we finally reached Milford, it was just as amazing as I’d always imagined. We parked, sat by the shore for a while, did a quick walk up to a lookout point then walked to the dock to wait for our boat.
We were the second set of people to get on the boat, so found a great spot right at the front – we were able to sit down and be out of the wind which was necessary since it was quite breezy. We cruised out to the mouth of the sound, turned around, and then returned back to the dock. They pointed out some key features like coastal points, waterfalls, and sea lions, but I was just in such awe of the view that I hardly took notice.
On our drive back to Te Anau from Milford, we stopped to do the Key Summit Hike. Although the weather had been great, thankfully, for the cruise, it turned cloudy quite quickly and our views from the top weren’t all that great.
We then went back to our hostel, checked in, and had leftover spaghetti for dinner before crashing for the night. In the morning, we finished off our food, then went for a 4 hour hike that was the start of the Kepler. It was fairly flat, an appreciated change from the Key Sunmit.
When we got back to town, we rested in the sun on a park bench and the grass (looking, I’m sure, partially like homeless people) before deciding to have an early dinner of pizza before I had to get on my bus to Queenstown and Q had to drive back to Dunedin.
My bus back to Queenstown went quite well and I was happy to get to see the scenery of the Te Anau to Queenstown trip once again. When I got to Queenstown, I made a dinner of eggs and granola bars, don’t judge, then hit the hay quite early to be up with time to spare in the morning to board the Stray bus.