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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 03 Jun 2007

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

MapFound my wallet after looking all the way down the track I had come. Fortunately it had been in my rucksack the whole time. So I finished the walk and set off south down the coast and slept in a car park (in the van) listening to the roaring waves all night, and just managed to reach the beach to watch the sunset. Then in the morning drove to Jacksons bay especially to see some penguins and seals. Seen plenty of seals already so it were the penguins I was interested in. Unfortunately the walking track was closed due to structural damage so I couldn't see the penguins. I walked along the shore for a bit but the tide was coming in so I had to head back. Then went to Haast but there wasn't alot there except expensive petrol, and then down to Wanaka with a few photo stops on the way. Wanaka is where people go skiing when the snow has arrived (perhaps in a months time) as well as Queenstown which is where I stayed the next night. Queenstown was quite a nice town and I thought Glenorchy and Arrowtown, towns nearby, were good places to visit. Glenorchy is supposed to be paradise according to the sign and I definitely would have liked to do a few days walking in the area. It is actually very close to Milford Sound as the crow flys but you have to drive about 300 km to get there. Arrowtown is a gold mining town where you can hire a pan for $3 to pan for gold in the river. Then I drove to Te Anau and slept beside the lake. The next morning it was poring with rain and I drove to the Milford Sounds. It was still quite dark when I was near to the Sounds but the mountains were amazing to look at. Mountains with almost vertical faces with rivers (rather than waterfalls) coming down side by side. Also drove through a tunnel in the mountain which was a little scary - couldn't see the end and it just went down, down, down..... until eventually reached the end - glad I didn't meet anyone coming the other way as the traffic lights do not work early in the morning. Waited all day for the weather to improve but it rained all day - which is very common for Milford. The next morning I went on a cruise across the Sounds to the Tasman Sea and got very wet due to the rain and standing under waterfalls (not the best thing when you have a cold). Despite the rain it was a good trip - the moody weather seemed to make the place more magical. Saw seals and dolphins but still haven't seen PENGUINS.

Got to go - Internet time is up.

From Milford I travelled to Invercargill which was a very nice trip where I saw plenty of sheep in the fields. Often though you see hundreds of sheep on one bit of field - electric fences are used alot. Invercargill was much bigger than I expected and here I stayed in a hostel so I could have the luxury of a shower. Had a room to myself so I didn't meet anyone in the hostel but met a couple of fellas in a Irish pub who were student nurses who bought me a drink and took me to a club. I was a bit annoyed that I didn't make the most of my bed as I didn't get in till about 4am and woke up at 7am to move the van so I wouldn't have a fine. I did think about going to Stewart Island but the morning looked a bit miserable. Walked to the gallery and park which had plenty of things to see which were free. From Invercargill I drove in the dark and camped in a picnic place by the sea. Early in the morning I drove away to a nearby beach and came across a huge sealion. I did not notice it at first thinking it was a smooth rock, but then I noticed it breathing. I went up the bank to watch it as sealions can be quite aggressive. I travelled on the coast stopping at lots of little places on the way - one was Nugget Point where there was a lighthouse and more seals. From here you can also watch penguins but I had come too early. I called in at a gallery called Glan-y-Mor - the lady was from near Swansea but also had family at Llantilio Pertholey (probably spelt wrong) not far from where I live. I then headed to Dunedin and that night I made my way to the Albatross centre and by midnight found somewhere to park the van. Woke up the next morning quite warm and cosy but it was all frosty outside (the first frost I had encountered) and I had a wonderful view of the sea. Saw some albatross chicks and a couple of parents flying in to feed them and learnt all about them. I then headed North to my next farm stay south of Timaru.