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Monday, April 25, 2016

New Zealand Part 2 (Dunedin and Te Anau)

Our stay in Dunedin was brief but we found a gem - the Cadbury Chocolate Factory!

The chocolate factory was conveniently located across from a supermarket so we stocked up our mini-bar fridge and headed across the street for some treats.

We treated ourselves to a "made in Dunedin" collection of goodies. Over the course of the trip we personally taste tested them as a family.

Results:  Buzz, Chocolate Fish and Pinky were all hits. Perky Nana, Peppy Chew and Caramel Chew were a bit of a bizarre combination of flavoured marshmallow covered chocolate. Finally, Pineapple lumps was a definite "no".  

And then we were back on the road again. Final destination for the day: Te Anau. 

It was a short drive so there was plenty of time to get in a visit to the nearby Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

This was one of those tours that needed a scenic boat tour to get to the next part of the tour. Luckily it was one of the rare warm and sunny days so hanging out on the boat deck really wasn't too much to ask. 

The tour took us to the limestone caves past whirlpools and waterfalls where 1000's of glow worms native to New Zealand make their home.  An underground riverboat took us through the caves to see the amazing lights of the glow worms.
No pictures allowed so I borrowed this one from the Te Anau tourist website.
It was dark and the worms glittered. Did I mention it was dark? So dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. And in a rowboat. Disorienting and all, it was a fun afternoon. 

The cruise wasn't quite as captivating on the way back so we took the opportunity to snap a couple of family selfies.

The next morning started off early, misty, foggy and vaguely Lord of the Rings-ish and it was time to get started on the 120 km scenic drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound to catch our river cruise. In the interest of getting on the road the kids stayed in their jammies and we figured that since we were travelling in our house we could always stop and make breakfast along the way.

We were told that the Milford Road is one of the more dangerous public roads in New Zealand, with higher than average injury crash rates. Still we decided to trust our savvy Canadian driving skills and save the extra $100 a person fee to take one of the many coach busses into the Sound.

Mirror lakes was first scenic/brekkie stop. Lakes so clear and still that the mountains are perfectly reflected in the water.

Once the little people were fed and dressed with continued on with our aforementioned "treacherous"  drive.

The drive took us around turns and corner and across a number of one way bridges until we arrived at the Homer Tunnel.

While waiting our turn to travel through the tunnel I googled why this was was such a tourist attraction. Turns out it's 1.2 km long is only a single lane and the tunnel walls are the same unlined granite from the original construction through the mountain. I concede, it was pretty cool.

We were advised that the best way to tour Milford Sound was to take a 2 hour cruise through the fiord. It was spectacular. Still waters, towering cliffs and waterfalls and seals were all part of the scenery.

It was amazing how grey and misty all my photos of the fiord out towards the sea were, but when I turned around I got these beautiful coloured shots of the cliffs and waterfalls.


Of course who could resist the urge to take a few more selfies while hiding inside from the rain. 

Poor Tyler got the short stick - mom would much rather kiss him than duck face for the camera!

The cruise was great, but not really up to the kids expectations as far as excitement went so we took advantage of the many beautiful tracks on our way back down the mountain. 

We even got to meet one of these cute little guys. He's a Weka, he's flightless and super curious which is why we found him wandering around the carpark checking out the tourists!

Scott and I finished off the night with a well earned hour over looking the lake in one of the holiday parks spas for hire. For an entire hour I forgot that I had been sleeping on the back seat of a car for the last week!

Next up...Queenstown and some highflying adventure!

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