our last day biking was from Wanaka to Queenstown via the crown range. The whole entire trip, we dubbed this range The Mount Mordor, mostly because of the daunting elevation profile shown in the biking guide book. The profile shows steady climbs to 1200 m elevation, with no breaks in between. We were all tired from our previous days of cycling. We made it pretty fast to Wanaka and kept our own paces throughout the day (as fast as we could). So our legs were tired the morning of Mt Mordor ascent.
We started fairly early after having instant noodles for breakfast. I was very nervous about the long consistent climb over 30 miles, not really realizing that it is a good thing, because it means that it was not as steep as I thought.
Our morning sunscreen ritual. For some reason, the sun is much fiercer here and even I get burned quite fast. I am developing freckles on my face. My mom would not be pleased
At the top of Mt Mordor, starving and gulping down peanut butter, nuttela and honey sandwiches
We made it to the top! Definitely not as tough as I thought, although it was steep at the top (some lengths of 14% grade)
What followed was very steep, tour-de-France status, hair pin downhill ride.
Celebratory drinks. The beer here is generally very weak, but the ciders are strong, yummy and laughter inducing.
Brady is showing off his New Zealand beard.
The day after, we leisurely woke up, rented a car, stored our bikes in Queenstown, made our way to Te Anau. It was raining pretty hard at this point and we were grateful and we had made it to Queenstown the previous day. Brady and I had decided that Queenstown will be the end of our trip, mainly because we wanted to do a ‘tramp’ (backpacking trip), and we wouldn’t have enough time to do both- biking back to Christchurch and the tramp.
We had booked an epic kayaking trip for the following morning, but heard that the Milford road going to Milford sound for the kayak trip, was closed. It was closed due to the possibility of landslide since it was the first heavy rain in months and months. We were nervous that the road would not open and also that we would be kayaking in the rain and we would not know till 730am the following morning.
We spent the night in Te Anau, watching Django Unchained in a movie theater with couches and serving wine. The next morning, turned out that the road finally opened and they would run our tour a couple of hours later so we could make it to Milford Sound in time. It was raining pretty good on the drive there. I have seen pictures of Milford Sound, and have heard plenty about it. But my oh my, the beauty of the place was definitely magnified hundreds of times in the rain. There were hundreds of small, skinny waterfalls, dropping from a thousand feet in a beautiful dainty trickles. It was absolutely jaw dropping.
View on the drive there. Absolutely stunning.
We went with Rosco’s kayak adventure. Most definitely recommended. We had an amazing guide and I guess Kelley’s fame here lead to us being filmed for a show to be aired in the national Tv (not really, they were filming something else, but we were really filmed and it will be aired on 4/14 here, we might have to throw a premiere showing when we get back).
We got pretty close to the bottom of the waterfall and we could definitely felt the string wind and the force of the waterfall. It was amazing. I don’t have enough superlatives to describe this experience.
The next day, we began our journey on the Kepler track, a 60km hike that is one of the GreatWalks of Nz. There were huts along the way, with gas stove, cold running water and mattresses. We had made a booking for 2 of the huts and had planned on completing the tramp in 3 days. We arrived at the first hut fairly early and decided to skip the hut to sleep on the second hut on the first night, making it a 2 day hike.
This hike is AMAZING!!!! We gained 1400m on the first day and walked along the ridges, on the side of the mountain, above the clouds, whilst surrounded by mountain tips and view of gorgeous lakes. To attempt to describe it in words would do it injustice. See for yourself.
The first hut.
We are still so sore from the hike and feel like we have wooden legs. I think my calves and thighs are bruised from the long walk. I really tip my hat for the people who can run the entire length, the shortest being less than 5 hours for 60km. Whaaaa?