Even before we landed I already knew Queentown will be a one of my favourite places but still I totally underestimated this charming little town! Queenstown totally took my breath away; it is most surely one of the most beautiful places in the world. However the first day on the south island we didn’t really see Queenstown as we drove directly to Te Anau, nothing of real interest to see on the way but the drive there is quite scenic, especially the first part along the lake and then some beautiful countryside with more rolling green hills, and here atleast there was some mountains to break all the green. We stayed right on the lake in Te Anau so took a nice long walk alongside it late the afternoon and there after enjoyed a glass of red wine before heading out for dinner to the olive tree restaurant. Lovely little place recommended by our hosts and easy to miss if you’re not looking out for it. Definitely the tastiest and most succulent lamb tjops I had on our holiday. I definitely recommend spending a night in Te Anau as it is also a beautiful little town next to one of New Zealands awe inspiring lakes. The next day we headed out quite early, just after 7am to milford sound. We decided to self-drive amidst some concern and couldn’t have made a better choice. We were careful and carried the required snow chains although there was no need to fit them. Leaving so early meant we almost had the road to ourselves and it was beautiful, I think we were extremely lucky with the weather, having rained the previous night there were thousands of waterfalls and we had beautiful crystal clear skies. A lot of good photo opportunities along the way and we were in no rush so we took our time stopping at points of interest (the Chasm is a must!!) and we still made good time to catch the cruise at 11am. Thanks to all the recommendations on this forum we decided to use Mitre Peak cruises which were excellent and much smaller than the other tour companies which we preferred. Milford sound is such a pristine and unique part of nature, you are surrounded by magnificent mountains and too many waterfalls to even try and count, definitely a ‘must do’ for anyone visiting NZ, it is everything and more that I read it would be. After the cruise we made back for Queenstown arriving late afternoon, giving us plenty of time exploring QT and watching the sunset whilst enjoying a glass of wine (if we stayed any longer NZ might have had a wine shortage on hand!). The next day we spent enjoying QT, taking a drive to Glenorchy and even fitting in a quick cheese and wine tasting at Gibbston valley. Our hosts Adrienne and Bevan Campbell recommended The Cow for dinner, which is a small restaurant in a stone cottage with a wonderful atmosphere, some great pizzas and expensive wine. I really couldn’t understand why wine from Italy and Australia was cheaper than locally produced wine!? The next day we headed of to Franz Josef via the Crown range, we took our time and stopped along the way at arrowtown, wanaka, fantail and thunder creek falls, haast, knights point and finally walked around lake Matheson before checking into our accommodation. This is most surely one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in NZ, we enjoyed every moment and had a real laugh at how every single little stream of water/creek has a name! We didn’t pre-book a heli-hike for Franz Josef and when we got there it was fully booked, luckily Fox still had a few places left for the next morning! This was the absolute highlight of our trip to NZ and I can’t even imagine that Franz Josef is more beautiful, Fox glacier blew our minds! We were again extremely lucky with the weather, in fact this was the warmest place during our whole trip to NZ and we all picked up a slight tan (and a few suspect mosquito or sand fly bites)! The guides were excellent and could go where ever they wanted, apparently there is a laid out route that the guides must follow on Franz Josef. One thing I noted during the trip and especially when driving between Fox and Franz Josef is that you guys don’t really like building straight roads (-:, a lot of twists and turns in the roads!! The next morning we left for Picton for some wine touring and stopped enroute at Reefton for breakfast. There after we decided to have some fun and took on the “challenge” of crossing the Buller gorge on the swing bridge! A good stop along the way! At around 2:30 we arrived in Blenheim and stopped at both Cloudy Bay and Allan Scott for wine tasting! It was excellent! Ten out of ten for NZ’s Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot noirs, just a pity I couldn’t bring more home! With some wine in hand we checked into Retreat Inn B&B, lovely place in the suburb with great hosts! (yet again the people of NZ amazed me!) The next day we visited Saint Clair, the boutique chocolate factory (yum!), Nautilus and Wairua river where after we had lunch at the wine village. We took back the pass via Havelock, beautiful scenery and some lovely walks along the way. O and great mussels! They are green and they are yummy! This concluded a wonderful time in NZ, as the next morning we took the ferry to Wellington from where we jumped on a plane to Fiji!!