Our CRUISE around NEW ZEALAND & return to AUSTRALIA FEB 2017 – PART 4 by “Yolo”

It was here that Peter Jackson chose Mt.Sunday as his site for Edoras in The Lord of The Rings. One of Jackson’s sound mixer guys was on hand to explain to the fans various features and brought out some swords and items used in the film.   On the Monday morning, we woke in the lovely setting of the harbour of Port Chalmers, the port for the charming city of Dunedin. The city derives its name from the Scottish capital and in early days of NZ settlement was the largest city in NZ.  Around its harbour area it has a scenic road at the water’s edge-the “low road”. The hills around the city rise steeply with a further scenic road high on the rim giving superb views of the city and surrounds-the “high road”. We travelled these roads on an excursion out to Lanarch Castle set high above the harbour.   We visited Lanarch Castle for a marvellous guided tour where we learned of its sad history and walked its lovely gardens, one section of which included a theme based on Alice in Wonderland including a superb statue of Alice. We took the low road back to the city where our driver took us to the NZ’s arguably most lovely old building, the Dunedin Rail Station.  Our ship cruised on around the south-eastern corner of the country and past Stewart Islands, the closest land point to the Antarctic continent in the southern Pacific Ocean. The next day we steamed up the far south-western coastline known in NZ as Fiordland. Regrettably due to a bit of swell, the ship was unable to enter the first two major fiords, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound. However, the seas abated and around 4pm we entered the famed tourist fiord Milford Sound.   We had visited this iconic Sound twice before in 1982 and 2005. On our first visit the weather we thought perfect. It had been a stunning day and the ferry in Milford Sound had even cruised into the waters of the Tasman Sea. I recall the captain telling me it was an extremely rare opportunity, even for him. During our second visit a huge storm blew up over the South Island which we found later caused a wash out of parts of the “low road” in Dunedin. The storm blew over Milford Sound while we were cruising around it on a ferry. The winds were massive but the scenery was breath taking as the vertical walls of the fiord became a thousand waterfalls.   On this visit the major fall was running gently, enough to capture the interest of those keen to record photographs. Despite a lack of recent rain, I doubt that Milford Sound could ever be described as dull such is the beauty and remoteness of this location. We love it to the point that a 120-year-old painting of it and its lovely Mitre Peak hangs in our lounge room, a wonderful legacy of my maternal grand-father.

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