Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Day 18 (cont) and 19 - Ice Bar & Milford Sound (Queenstown, NZ)

March 3rd & 4th – Ice Bar & Milford Sound

In the evening on March 3rd, we went to Minus 5 – a bar that is made completely out of ice! Hence from the name it is Minus 5 degrees (Celsius). It was darn cold in there! They have to give you parkas and gloves before going in and they only allow you to stay in the bar for 30 minutes due to the effects of alcohol at that temperature. I’m not sure if you can tell, but even the couch and the glasses are made out of ice! It was pretty cool (no pun intended!)

This morning we had to wake up at 5:30 AM (so much for sleeping in on vacation) so we could take the 13 hour roundtrip bus ride to Milford Sound. After reading all the brochures on the different companies who take this trip (there is about 10) we decided to go with one of the smaller companies Mitre Peak. I am so glad we did – I would give this trip a 10 out of 10! First of all, Milford Sound is one of the most unbelievable awe inspiring landscapes I have ever seen. Second, the great thing about Mitre Peak was that it was a small enough group and company that the bus driver, Allen, stopped at several lookouts on the way there and even stopped off at Te Anua on the way back to view a documentary on The Fiords of New Zealand. (Milford Sound is actually a fiord not a sound. Fiords were created during the ice age when glaciers retreated, and carved out the steep valleys all the way to the seafloor.) He was very knowledgeable about the terrain and wildlife and taught us so much about New Zealand! Here are a few pictures from the trip as I couldn’t describe it’s beauty even if I tried! This was one of our favorite days of the whole trip! (Just a note – if you come to Queenstown we would suggest this tour with Mitre Peak – we heard that some of the other companies like Real Journeys herd you like cattle – definitely not our experience!)

Mirror Lakes

Lake Gunn

Outside of Homer Tunnel

Milford Sound

And finally! One of my favorite Kiwi sayings is “Good on Ya Mate” ! I love this picture!

I knew the pictures wouldn’t do it justice so I tried to take a movie with my camera – here is what I got! Sorry it is a little shaky but you will get the jist – the boat was rocking!

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