Today saw a 5 am alarm and my first day of driving in New Zealand. With a 600 km round trip to Milford it would have been very unfair for Jason to drive the entire distance. I took the first driving shift and before long Andrew, Erin and Kara were snoring in the back. To his credit Jason stayed awake for the entire trip. We had booked a 11.45 am boat trip at Milford Sound and a visit to the Discovery Centre. Travelling time estimates by the locals had varied from 4 to 5 hours mostly due to the low speed limits and the number of one lane bridges. We took no chances and got there about one hour early. Close to our destination we had to stop for 15 minutes before getting a green light to travel down a one lane 2 km tunnel, this time allowed us to get up close to the snow on the ground, however no snow fights with Andrew unlike South America.
The boat trip took about 3 hours and included a BBQ on this Australia Day. On the upper deck Erin and Kara almost got blown away into the Tasman Sea. We had great sunny conditions which meant that there weren’t big waterfalls which rely on the rain. Milford Sound gets about 7 metres of rain a year so we definitely expected rain. We got very close to one waterfall and I got a little wet but not as much as some USA tourist who weren’t prepared! The discovery centre gets you under the water to see what is happening and Erin loved the fish swimming everywhere. They also had some black coral growing which is usually 100 metres under the sea. After dinner back in Queenstown Jason, Andrew and myself headed out to a pub that had an Australian Day theme and we all drank VB beers to celebrate the day. The even put on the soccer and Jason, wearing his Melbourne Victory top, watch his team go up 4-0 and was very happy. He even got to talk to a Wellington fan about the match.