After getting our fix of the glacier, we loaded back into the helicopter and left Milford Sound. We got a little lucky and because of the way the tour was set up for the family we were riding with, we had to fly out of Milford Sound to drop them off and then fly back in so we could get our car.
We finally made our way back to the airport, climbed out of the helicopter grinning from ear to ear and loaded into our car for the drive back to Queenstown. Surprisingly enough, leaving Milford Sound was so different this final time. We had a different perspective on the fjordland we had just explored and it was the realization that this place actually existed and we had the opportunity to experience it in person.
As we drove through, we were still riding the excitement that came from riding a helicopter for the first time. The trees seemed more green, the forest seemed more vibrant, the sky was bluer than ever and it seemed more real that it did the first few times we drove around. I feel like it was because we had a chance to see everything from a different perspective so it made us appreciate it so much more.
We left Milford Sound and decided to stop by Te Anau for a quick bite. We settled for an adorable restaurant right along the main road and enjoyed some caffeine, sandwiches and salads to get our energy up for the remainder of the drive to Queenstown. Outside of the restaurant there were about 4 tables and they were filled with people enjoying the summer holiday with some wine and good conversation. It was a great to see especially considering the fact that it was December and this wouldn’t happen back in Seattle because it would be too cold. Everyone would be dressed head to toe in warm clothing and staying inside as long as possible.
After our meal, we drove the 2 hours back to Queenstown and settled into our Airbnb. This one was a bit closer to the city than our last Airbnb so it was much easier to get back into the city. We showered (since we hadn’t had the chance after our hike and helicopter ride), did some laundry (for the first time all week), and relaxed for bit. At this point, I was really starting to feel the fact that I was very out of shape and had started feeling the consequences of running up a mountain.
After a few hours, we decided it was time to get some dinner…