Friday, June 4, 2010

Honeymoon Day 9

On our first full day in Blanket Bay - we took a helicopter ride to Milford Sound.  When we had arrived the previous day, one of the hotel staff suggested that we book the ride for the following day as the weather was supposed to be perfect.  Apparently there are often weeks when the sound is too cloudy to allow for safe flying.  We took her advice - and sure enough - the rest of our trip was too cloudy and no other trips went out.  We were very lucky.

Milford Sound is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the South Island of New Zealand.  Were we to drive there - it would have taken several hours.  We figured that a helicopter ride would be a fun way to see it in a morning.  I worked at a helicopter research lab when I was in undergrad, but I had never actually been in a helicoper!  It was a big day for many reason.

The helicopter picked us up on the front lawn of our hotel!  Seriously!  We got to sit in the front seat with the pilot, and three other passengers sat in the back.  Our first stop was a glacier at the top of a mountain.
My first up close look at a glacier
Stop #2: The Tasman Sea.
The rocky coast of the Tasman Sea
Instead of stopping in Milford Sound, we flew around and traded that stop for another stop at a glacial mountain lake.  I should say that Milford Sound isn't actually a sound - it is a fjord.

Flying through the fjord!
Stop #3: a mountain lake with incredibly cold water
The helicopter perched right to the left of the waterfall on what looks like a tiny little lip! 
This last stop was incredible.  We were so high up!
The high mountain lake
It was an amazing adventure.  When we got back to the hotel - we just couldn't believe this trip!  And all before lunch!  We decided to walk into Glenorchy (about 3 miles away) to have lunch and walk through the marsh on an elevated boardwalk.

Bench on the boardwalk
We ended the night with our complimentary bottle of honeymoon champagne!


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