Vacation 2001, Day 11
Monday, July 31
Queenstown, New Zealand

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Expectations for Today

This day I make a return trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Having done this twice before it is one of the great scenic trips around. Highlights include Lake Wakitipu, the Remarkables mountain range (yes that's really their name), the Homer Tunnel (something like 1 mile long), and Milford Sound itself. This trip is very weather dependent. The last time I was there, there had been an avalanche on the Milford side of the Homer Tunnel. The snow was higher than the coach. It had been closed for a week to dig it out and they had just gotten it clear the day before I went. I heard later that they weren't able to get in the next day due to freezing rain so I was lucky. After all, it is winter in New Zealand you know! Milford Sound is a beautiful sight if it is clear. If I don't get in I'll include some pictures from that last trip 9 years ago after I get back.

Created July 14th, 2001.

What actually happened on this day.

The weather turned out to be cool and sunny with a few clouds. The trip in and out of Milford sound takes about 4 hours by motorcoach so this time I took the optional flight from the sound to Qweenstown that takes 35 minutes and costs $209 NZ or at the exchange rate at that time $135.75 CDN. On the map below the bus trip is shown in ORANGE and the approximate route of the flight in blue (same colour as page background). Departure time in morning was 8:00 am., returning by coach around 8:00 pm. and with the flight I was back by 4:30 pm.. A second page has been added to day 11 to accomodate the pictures from the flight. Click "On to Day 11 Continued" at the botton of this page to see these pictures.

The Reflecting Pool on the way to Milford Sound.

A small waterfall and pool along the way.

Some of the mountain scenery

More mountain scenery.

The entrance to the Homer tunnel. The bird being
fed is a Kea. As you may be able to tell it comes
from the parrot family. It is apparently the only
parrott that lives in an alpine mountain area.
The motor coach was a tight fit in the tunnel. At
the top of the page I describe the weather the
last time I was here. The next picture (below
left) is looking out of the tunnel opening shown

As indicated above, this 1992 picture shows what
it was like then. As you can see we certainly
couldn't have stopped were we did in 2001 in
1992. This was the result of an avalanche.
This 2001 picture shows part of the road after
you come out of the tunnel. It is a twisty turvy
road that descends very quickly. Approximately
the same spot as the next two1992 pictures.

One of the biggest avalanches they had seen in this
section. This is a bit closer to the tunnel exit than
picture above right. It took the road crews just
over a week to clear this.
Picture above is just a bit closer to the turn than
this but you can see the difference. Compare the
size of the coach to the size of the snow pile for
some idea of its size.

From 2001.

From the back of the boat after turning a corner.

A story that is told is that many ships knowing the
sound was there would seek shelter from storms
that occur in the Tasman Sea but couldn't find it.
These 2 pictures show the reason.
If you aren't in just the right place you can't see the
opening into the sound. It is well camouflaged.

A seal sunning himself on a rock in the sound. It is
not unusual to see different forms of sea life here.
The bottom of a very tall waterfall shown in the
next picture.

The rest of the waterfall from the previous picture.

[ On to Day 11 Continued]

Last Updated September 2nd, 2001

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