Land of the Long White Cloud,
August, 2002


16th April, 2002
17th April, 2002

Tuesday, 16th April, 2002

Kingston Flyer photograph

Kingston Flyer

Drop Cap oday was a magic day! A huge high pressure area is covering New Zealand and the weather was wonderful. We started out from Queenstown at about 0915 and travelled to Kingston where we boarded the lovely old Kingston Flyer. This is a beautifully kept old steam train which has first and second class carriages. We opted for first, a corridor carriage, with leather lined individual compartments. Despite being called the Flyer, it wasn't very fast, but was big on atmosphere. All along the route people were stopping their cars to take photos of us.

Kingston Station photograph

Kingston Station

Drop Cap hen we were disembarked at Fairlight we bussed off again to Te Anau. This is the largest lake in the South Island. We are staying here tonight, so our bags were unloaded while we had a very quick lunch break.

Milford Sound photograph

Boarding "Lady of the Sounds", Mitre Peak in Background

Drop Cap hen out and away along the eye-popping beauty of the Milford Road to Milford Sound. We passed snow and glacier topped peaks, lakes and rushing rivers, waterfalls and forests, including the site of a battle in "Lord of the Rings".

Bowen Falls photograph

Bowen Falls, Milford Sound

  Drop Cap hen we reached Milford Sound we filed on to the "Lady of the Sounds" for our cruise. It was indescribable, really. The sun shone brightly, the glaciers glittered, and the waterfalls gushed.

Milford Sound photograph

Kate and Peter on Board, Milford Sound

Drop Cap he highest peak (Mitre Peak) is a mile high and the water beneath it is a mile deep. It was amazing. The weather is being so lovely that all the guides are saying "Believe it or not, this is the wettest place in New Zealand." The record rainfall is 1994, when they had nine metres of rain in the year! Not today, though, it was great!

Milford Sound photograph

Rosemary and Mac in Milford Sound

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Wednesday, 17th April, 2002

Drop Cap ine again, but very cold, (4 deg C) as we headed away from Te Anau at 0800. There was some kind of glitch which necessitated the cancellation of our chartered train from Balclutha into Dunedin, so we filled in the time at a farm shop and café where we bought our lunch to take away and some souvenir gifts, etc.

Postcard, Dunedin Railway Station

Postcard, Dunedin Railway Station

Drop Cap hen a straight run into Dunedin to its fabulous Edwardian Railway Station. This is probably the most famous building in Dunedin and it is a pity that the only passenger train it still carries is the tourist special Taieri Gorge Train.

Taieri Gorge Train photograph

Nan, Geoffrey, Clive, Rosanna and Keith on the Taieri Gorge Train

Drop Cap e filled a special compartment with velvet seats and huge panoramic windows and off we went. This trip is great! It was built to take supplies etc into the still largely inaccessible Central Otago region. It is hugely scenic but it is almost unimaginable what rigours the pioneers went through building the line. There are very high viaducts on solid Victorian stone foundations, and very narrow tunnels not an inch wider than absolutely necessary.

Taieri Gorge Train photograph

Taieri Gorge Train

Drop Cap e enjoyed the trip immensely and were able to get off occasionally to photograph the train coming over the viaducts. Two of our party, Alan, a Scottish sea captain, now working in the Aberdeen oilfields, and Clive, an Englishman, spent most of the trip home in the drivers' cab being allowed to hold the controls.

Taieri Gorge Train photograph

Out on the Viaducts, Taieri Gorge

Drop Cap hen we arrived back at Dunedin the bus took us to the Southern Cross Hotel (and boutique Casino) where we are staying tonight. They left us little complimentary gold bags of chockies, which was nice. Dinner tonight is freedom of choice, which means we can eat whenever we like (and hopefully a la carte). I get tired of buffets, never seem to get enough to eat. I don't like going back and back (though some do). See what happens tonight.


Drop Cap ell, we had a lovely a la carte meal and it looked like the standard menu, not a restricted tourist one. We both had the same, honey glazed chicken salad, peppered lamb noisettes and rhubarb pie. Yummy! It was probably the best meal we have had since Auckland.

Drop Cap omorrow we are going to see Olverston House, a lovely old historic pile, then, on to Mount Cook.

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