Another early start for our 3 ½ hour drive today meant we were on the road again by 9am.
This trip has really cemented for us the benefit of packing cubes. I had been reading about people raving about these for years. So last year we invested in some and have found their use to be invaluable. To be able to just pick out a cube from your case to get shorts or socks out of the relevant one has been a real time saver. Everything is so easy to find, and remarkably even my T shirts don't look all creased despite their cube being taken out and repacked daily. To repack a complete case takes around 10 seconds!
Anyhow, today the roads were wide, flat and clear. In fact it took an effort to keep to the speed limit. We listened to the radio for a bit and then a News Quiz pod cast. Karen loves these types of comedy shows. Our refreshment stop today was at Gore, which Karen remarked was a little like Diss. Not sure that was meant as a compliment. The only interesting thing about Gore was that the preceding town was called Clinton. The locals had put up signs between the two towns renaming the road as the presidential highway.
We arrived at our motel for the night and checked in. We ate our lunch and then went out to explore Te Anau and its Lake. The Lake is the second largest in NZ and as ever very picturesque. We drove to the National Park Information Centre initially. Whilst it served its purpose it really could learn from its USA equivalents. Lake Te Anau is part of the Fijordland National Park which is bigger than Yellowstone & Yosemite combined.
After this we parked next to the Lake and walked around the town centre. We ambled along enjoying the weather which was getting progressively better as the day wore on. We purchased tickets for the 7pm showing of the Fijordlands film that is shown hourly at the specially built cinema and then ended up with Karen needing another Flat White so ended up at a pleasant coffee shop overlooking the Lake.
After a quick chill back at the motel we decided rather than driving that it would be a pleasant walk back to the cinema. By now the sun was out and the sky blue. There is a fine line of weather where Karen is happy and now the sun was too strong for her so we had to walk in the shade. The views of the mountains around the Lake were stunning.
We eventually got to the cinema which had a bar attached which allowed drinks to be taken in whilst you were watching. Although the film was only 32 minutes long, it showed the sheer untouched wilderness of the National Park. Most of it is inaccessible on foot and so the shots taken from a helicopter were breathtaking.
After this we found a nice and popular Italian restaurant for our meal and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the Motel room. It was still quite early but we had a 6am alarm set for our Milford Sound trip the next day.
Over dinner we had been making a list/itinerary of all the places and things we haven't managed on this trip to NZ. It just looks like we will have to come back. At the moment that looks like being in 2 years time as we think we already know where we would like to go for a few weeks next January.
This retirement lark makes all of this possible and we want to continue having these adventures whilst we can. We do understand how lucky we are and really appreciate it all. We are lucky that by managing our finances very carefully we can just about afford to do these things. We are also so lucky that we both love doing the same things together and still enjoy each others companies (although I do long for some intelligent conversation sometimes!!!!!!!).
As yet I haven't missed the daily grind of work. In fact it has now been almost 9 months since I went into the office. For the past few years I didn't find the work interesting or challenging. It played to all of my weaknesses and none of my strengths. But I will always be grateful for the opportunity and the opportunities it brought. I do miss my colleagues and the comraderiship.