New Zealand

11 January 2012

The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound was long but scenic. Milford South itself was underwhelming.

I had six days in the north and south islands of New Zealand. Not nearly enough.

In 2016, I squeezed in three days in Auckland as an extended layover, but want to return and spend weeks going around the country.

The world's heaviest and only flightless parrot is the kakapo, one of New Zealand several endangered flightless birds. Fewer than 100 exist in the wild, but we stumbled upon this one at a scenic stop on the drive to Milford Sound.

Another heavy, flightless creature.
For fun, tour boats like ours in Milford Sound often go near enough to waterfalls to soak everyone on deck.

Milford Souud on a hazy, sometimes rainy day.
I had expected a more dramatic fjord and while it was nice I was disappointed.

Perhaps better weather would have helped.
Classic travel letdown due to overly high expectations.

Flew back to Queenstown on a helicopter. Here's the view from the end of Milford Sound as my copter was departing. It was my best view of the sound all day.

Always reluctant to stand tall when copter blades are whirling a few feet above

A Māori cultural show, mainly singing and dancing, featuring the haka war dance made famous by New Zealand rugby teams..

Going back down the mountain, at no extra charge, the cable car froze for 40 min.

On the north island, Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, was enjoyable too. Like Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Auckland's skyline was accented with a high sky tower.