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which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Hong Kong
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which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

We are in AUckland now and will be travelling to Te Anau and staying there for 3 days, the Wed (5th Dec), Thursday and Friday (7th). I have conflicting weather reports from different sources and whereas we had originally planned on doing the Milford cruise on Wed, and the DOubtful cruise on THursday and then doing some Milford walks on Friday, we are wondering whether we should change the dates since one source says there will be rain on Wednesday. Can one do the walks in the rain? Or would it be dangerous?

We have not booked any cruise yet. Should we book ahead or should we just turn up on the day and book? WIll the cruises be full and we be unable to book?

New Orleans
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11. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Boofit, thanks so much for your report. It's so great to hear your perspective of each sound. We are going to do the same thing you've done this February and now I'm even more excited.

BTW, where did you stay? We haven't booked a place in Te Anau yet. Your cottage sounds lovely and like a place my husband and I would like to stay.

I hope the rest of your holiday is just as lovely and I'll look for your posts on the forum!

New Zealand
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12. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Cool BooFit, reports from an embedded journalist, straight from the "front line" and in real time!

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, glad it all worked out in the end. That dog's not silly, sounds like he knows exactly who is a soft touch!

Te Anau
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13. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Great report, BooFit, I might just print it, to give to people who think there's nothing to do in Te Anau.

If you haven't already left Te Anau, go and see the short film "ATAWHENUWA" at the local cinema. Shows every hour, on the hour. You think you've seen spectacular scenery, This will blow your mind!!!

Cheers,

Hong Kong
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14. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Yes vbc, we went to see the movie at 6pm today. As you said, the magnificent views just blow one's mind. It would, in my view, been better if there were captions to let viewers know where the shots being taken were of. That way, those less informed about the place could have a better appreciation of what was being offered. Nevertheless, I envy you Kiwis for your natural heritage, and we are so glad we have an opportunity to share it. [By the way, apologies vbc for keeping on changing your name to vbp, I guess it sort of rhymes......]

Today was another glorious day. Sunny and clear skies. We set off a bit later this morning, around 10 am and drow to The Divide to do the Key Summit walk. By the way, the washroom facilities at Knob's Flats were super clean and big wtih many stalls. Loads of tourists getting off to use the washrooms and still the place was clean and not crowded. Although there was a sign seeking a $1 contribution it appeared no one was paying heed to it (in fact half of the people there did not appear to have English as their mother tongue... so ..)

The Key Summit walk is excellent. We love going on short hikes (nothing more than 6-8 hours, that's the max we've done) and the views on this walk, particularly at the latter part, is simply GREAT. Somewhat similar to the Plain of 6 Glaciers Walk in Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies (though not as strenous and in my view the 6 Glaciers walk still ranks 1st in my book) but is a much shorter walk with an interesting and very scenic alpine circuit at the top. The Visitors Information pamphlet said the walk would take 3 hours return. It took us around 4 hours because it was a steady gradual climb up and we did it VERY slowly. In any event we are no longer strapping youths, more like people who are in their "mature" years, so we decided to take it slowly and enjoy the trail without being worn out. WE took a picnic lunch up and sat eating with the best mealtime view we have ever had. ALthough it was not shaded up at the top, the cool alpine breezes made it very comfortable to eat up there.

Returned from the Walk and went to the movie, which lasted about half an hour.

nola44, we are staying at Blue Thistle Cottages. It has received a number of good reviews. Basically, we try to go for places that are not in the centre of town. We usually have a car when we travel and we prefer staying at places a wee bit out of town with cooking facilities. For example, in Lake Tekapo, we stayed at a cottage called the Church House, which is part of a set up named Parkbrae Estates, and the views there were simply FANTASTIC, particularly when dusk fell and all the day visitors and tourist buses had gone. The Church HOuse faced the lake and the Church of Good Shepherd as well as the Statute of the Dog, with views of the mountains as well. When dusk fell, the mist rose up from the lake, and.... Well, you need to experience it.

ANyway, the owners of the Blue Thistle are an English couple who have lived in New Zealand for 16? years. The place is on the Milford Road Highway, just out of Te Anau town (about 3 minutes' drive). There is no stove top cooking, and no oven, but there is a big electric frying pan and a microwave. FOr the two of us, it was adequate and we managed very well with our simple meals. The place is immaculately clean, and although our stay was for only 4 nights, we very much appreciated the change of linen during the middle of our stay. AND the dog Paris (which actually is a SHE not a HE, I only found out today - guess I had the Paris who seduced Helen of Troy in mind...) was very friendly and good looking......

Hong Kong
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15. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

By the way, does anyone know the name of the yellow flowers growing wild by the roadside on the Milford Road Highway?

Need to post something now separately to enquire about walks in Wanaka and Lake Tekapo....

New Orleans
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16. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Thanks for the info on your Te Anau accomodation. Unfortunately, I just received notice that the Blue Thistle Cottages are not available for the dates we need...

Love your reports because they're both informative and descriptive. We will definitely follow in your footsteps in a couple of months.

Te Anau
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17. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Hi BooFit,

I too thought that captions would improve the movie, but I aked the producers about it, and they say it was decided that most viewers wouldn't have a clue where the places were, even with captions, and would have forgotten by the time to movie ended and they had a chance to look it up. Also they wanted to make it suitable for people who do not have english as their first language, so would have had to have the captions in many languages, and which ones? They felt that they would detract from the overall experience, and perhaps they are right.

The yellow flowers are probably Broom, or Gorse. Are they golden yellow,on a small to medium size bush? If so they are a noxious weed, and we have just imported a beetle to eat them, so they may not be a problem much longer, hopefully.

The other possibility is Lupins. They grow as a bush, which is mostly a pale yellow, or as a low growing plant with tall flower heads. These are Russel Lupins, and are mostly blue and mauve. These are also unwanted in the National Park, and DOC sprays them regularly, but they are very prolific, and I think it's a losing battle.

Hong Kong
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18. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

Thanks vbc, I always thought lupins were purplish, pinkish flowers, now I know they come in yellow as well.

THe ones we saw on the roadside were probably not lupins though, they looked different. They did brighten up the drive along the road though, all that brilliant yellow amongst the green!!!

For the movie, the producers do have a point - but perhaps head-set commentary in multi-languages (English, German, French, Putonghua, Japanese Korean etc) could merit consideration? The cinema is THE most comfortable one we have been to, with very wide comfy sofa seats and this could probably be done for those who do prefer a commentary.

We do love this area, and whoever said there is nothing to do in Te ANau is so terribly wrong, it is the perfect base to do the two Sounds and the very many interesting and scenic walks in the region! IT is so much better using Te ANau as a base in my view, cos we found Queenstown so very touristy.

Te Anau
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19. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

As you drive towards Tekapo you will probably see a yellow flowered low growing plant in the gravel on the road verge. I don't know what it is, but my wife though it would look good in her rockery, and brought some home about 10 years ago. She has been fighting with it ever since. It is the most pervasive persistant weed I have ever seen.

Don't be tempted to take it back to Hong Kong, or you could be famous, for all the wrong reasons :-)

Hope you rest of your trip is as good as your Fiordland sojourn. BTW I am worn out keeping the weather fine for you, so I have scheduled some rain for Monday and Tuesday, my days off.

New Orleans
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20. Re: which day for Milford and Doubtful SOunds?

vbc, let it be known that I hereby officially request you use your "fine weather" skillz from 29/February through 3/March when we'll be touring Fiordland. So, please plan your days off accordingly! :)