Queenstown / Milford Sounds
This post is in collaboration with
DATES TRAVELLED | Winter 2018, July school holidays | 6 days.
On our first night, we met with our friend Les for dinner, (whom I went to intermediate with and was a good friend of Aary's throughout high school), and he's now building apartments here in Queenstown. We were talking about how unlike Queenstown is to the rest of New Zealand - and he said: "When I first moved here, it pretty much felt like a scene from a Christmas movie! Everyone is happy because the majority of people are on holiday, and it looks like somewhere in Europe or Canada!". Nothing prepares you for the first time you lay eyes on Queenstown, the vastness of the mountains and the feeling of being this tiny speck compared to the surroundings. Becuase these huge snow-capped mountains are all around you and in every direction, you kinda feel encased by it all. It made me smile as we drove in from the airport having the kids in the back saying "wooooah! WOOOOOAH" - you know its good when kids are blown-away by mountains!
And then the Milford Sounds is like that times a hundred! I thought Queenstown was pretty magical, but on that drive on the Milford Road, we were at a loss for words at how incredible this part of the country is. Because we travelled from Te Anau very early in the morning (it was still dark when we left), we were often the only car for miles and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Everything is BIGGER in Milford, the mountains are closer and you can feel in the air the snow that coats them! It hits your face each time you step out of the car to take a photo and it was like a little punch of awakening freshness! Because the Milford Sounds are a part of the Fiordland National Park - it is protected and well cared for, it feels untouched and more unseen than it's neighbour Queenstown. It had my tramping and hunting loving husband smiling from ear to ear, and it made me, an indoor enthusiast (LOL), feel strengthened mentally by mother nature. At one point, I actually felt teary and a little emotional by just how stunning it was - I'm not even exaggerating! It is by far, the most beautiful place I have ever been to in the world, and as a
New Zealander, it reminded me that we are so lucky to call this place home.
For this trip, I am grateful to have collaborated with booking.com. Their site makes planning holidays that much easier because you find and compare flights, accommodation and car rentals all on the one site - and I just LOVE organising trips! I booked the vehicle for our holiday through them and we decided to go for a 4WD (Toyota Hilux). I have distinct memories of our last trip to Queenstown in our 2WD car, fitting chains on the tires (that came tangled in a bag!) before heading up the mountains - and Aary helping many tourists parked next to us too who had no clue what they were doing. I wanted a 4WD to (safely) boost up the mountains with ease, get us over to Milford Sound comfortably and have something that felt safe to drive especially with the kids in the winter elements. Booking.com have some great deals on at the moment to make your holiday planning effortless, click the link HERE to find out more!
The boxes below contain a few guides with personal tips for the region - click on them to read all the details!
ABOVE & BELOW : I saw these mustard coloured plants from the road and we pulled over to check it out, it was roughly about
40 minutes before Te Anau on the left-hand side of the road. The plant life was so unreal...some looked like underwater coral. The floor was covered for as far as the eye could see in a soft and spongy snow coloured moss. We spent 45 minutes here and while the boys chased and ‘hunted’ rabbits around these mustard hedges, I photographed all the beautiful plants.
ABOVE & BELOW : The Toyota Hilux we rented through booking.com , it was so handy having a 4WD in the winter terrane.
+ scenes from our 'free' snow days. Read more about getting there, HERE.
ABOVE : Food from The Chop Shop in Arrowtown | BELOW: Images from our visit to Vudu Lader & Cafe.
Read more about the cafes and food spots I loved the most HERE.
ABOVE & BELOW : Taco Medic down one of the cool little laneways in Queenstown which had super tasty tacos and amazing staff! We ordered the Prawn Bajaman; fresh, light and crispy deep fried prawns, creamy spiced Jalapeño sauce, a fresh tomato salsa and fresh lime, The Bushman; slow roasted (7 hour) pork belly, a sweet onion reduction with a dusting of pork crackling and
a spiced rubbed free range chicken taco with a fresh cut tomato salsa, mango chunks, chipotle mayo and fresh coriander. Sooooo good!
BELOW : Bao from the Habit Food Truck in Te Anau. We ordered their 'Feathered' and 'Porky' feasts with wings and a salad. Read more about Te Anau and getting to Milford HERE.
ABOVE & BELOW : Early morning starts with Belgium hot chocolates and breakfast bagels from Furgbakery | Scenic shots taken on the way up to Coronet Peak looking down to the valley where Arrowtown and Cromwell are.
ABOVE : Spot the white, two level catamaran boat to show scale!