March 3, 2018 - Queenstown
In Queenstown I parked the car and went off to find a booking centre for either the Milford Sound boat tour or the one on Doubtful Sound. I had heard different reports on both sounds. I think the more popular one is the Milford Sound tour but some people say they liked the Doubtful Sound tour better. I was to see what my options would be and easily found a booking centre. There are actually several around in Queenstown.
Sometimes I stop being a miser and go for a good recommendation. I decided to do an overnight cruise. I got prices for both sounds and eventually decided to book my tour for Doubtful Sound. All in all it's not that expensive after all t just sounds much from a German perspective when you hear the price, $429. But then again it's NZ dollars and that relates to about 279 euros. The cruise includes the boat trip to the end of the west arm where a bus then takes us to Deep Cove where the cruise ship waits for us. Then it's an overnight trip with a shared cabin (4 people for that price), there's a kayak trip included and then food of course. So not bad really.
Once I had booked that I knew when I had time for another important appointment: getting a tattoo as a very special and personal souvenir. I wanted a traditional Maori tattoo, a moko. One that includes personal things about me. One done by a Maori. And that's exactly what I booked for Sunday afternoon. Perfect, my cruise was on Monday and I had nothing else planned for Sunday.
Then I drove out of town to find a nice campground run by the DOC and what can I say - wowzer. Not so much the campground itself, that was pretty standard (meaning a toilet, in this case a dump toilet and optional solar showers which you bring yourself of course). The wowzer was more the location. It was directly at the lake and instead of taking shower I opted or a swim in the lake. A bit chilly but once I was in it was okay. I still didn't put my head under water. That would have been too much for me.
The next morning after an excellent night's sleep without any time pressure to be anywhere, I slept in - until about 7.43. My body just seems to be used to waking up around tat time. When I wear an eye mask I make a bit longer. I took my time with breakfast and stuff and then drove back to Queenstown to explore the town a bit more. I just had time to kill. On my drive there I almost cried. The view and scenery along the lake was so gorgeous it filled my heart with so much joy and gratefulness it almost exploded. I know, I know, it sounds totally sappy. But that was exactly how I felt.
I splurged on a pizza and worked a bit on this blog. Then I walked over to the tattoo place excited to see what my guy would come up with. Big disappointment, my guy had called in sick that morning. Now the question was did I want to reschedule or not. Rescheduling would have meant coming back to Queensland and spending another day and night there. Or would I just cancel the whole appointment and get my tattoo somewhere else, maybe Christchurch? I decided to come back to Queensland because - according to the lady at the reception - the guy who would do my tattoo was very experienced and well travelled so he knew about other cultures as well as his own. Besides, I wasn't in a hurry so why not.
So instead of biting my teeth and whining silently about the pain (I'm a wimp), I got back in my car and drove towards Manapouri, the place my cruise would start the next day. That way I could drive leisurely and without rushing to get to the sound. It was after all a four-hour drive. Or longer. In my case it was a bit longer because I took the long route. Doh. Not on purpose but that way I got to see more of beautiful NZ. I camped at a very popular spot in Lamsden, right in the centre of the town. I was very late for my standard, it was already past 7pm. I just managed to find a spot. Sweet. I was only 30 minutes from Manapouri now which gave me plenty of time in the morning.