When you’re in New Zealand in spring but it snows…

If anyone ever tells you that when in New Zealand you can experience all fours seasons in day, please believe them!

We woke on November 8th at Mossburn Country Park, where the night before it had in fact been snowing, to a minimum of 10 centimeters of snow on and around our car.

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My wish for it to snow whilst in New Zealand was in fact taken seriously. And although we had all gone to bed thinking the temperature had just dropped whilst raining, but that it would be gone in the morning, were seriously shocked! Leonne snapped this picture of our car in the night just to show that not long after we went to bed, the snow just kept on falling.

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We all woke a little bit cold, but otherwise amazed at the amount of snow that had fallen and the amount that had stuck to the ground.

After throwing snowballs at each other and jumping around in the snow, which was me mostly, the boys had to assist other campers with their cars. Everyone was slightly boxed in by the snow and so it wasn’t a surprise that more than one or two people were required to push some cars out.

It didn’t take long for those leaving to be pushed out and get on their way. We four decided to stay, eat our breakfast and just wait for the roads to be cleared. After all our intention was to drive to Milford Sound, but we had heard due to the snow the road had been closed. We were thus in no rush.

After a slow breakfast and still a serious amount of snow, we easily drove out of our parked spots, only having to scrape a bit of snow of the windscreen…

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One on the road it was clear that they had been cleaned, it was all clear with lots of other drivers but surrounding the road all fields were covered in a white blanket. And the animals, I guess used to it, were continuing as normal.

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We drove in the direction of Milford Sound, stopping in the town of Te Anau, where we would stock up on groceries for a few days. Whilst there I also brought myself a pair of gloves. Yes I was that cold!

Once stocked up with groceries and coffee, we ventured further in the direction of Milford Sound. Along the way we were stopped by a volunteer who gave us details on the road closure. It was due to be open again in a few hours, so we could continue driving there but may have to wait a while. We thought we would give it a try, given the time she mentioned would only be another two hours away.

Along the way we stopped in a small rest area next to a lake and cooked up some lunch. On the menu was a bag of soup which we all ate out of the pot. It was delicious and so warm on a really cold day.

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From there we stopped again at Eglinton Valley, which used to be a glacier but has since melted. It was a stunning valley with mountains surrounding it, fields of green grass everywhere and snow lining the side of the road. We took some pictures of course.

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Afterwards we continued on but only got another few minutes down the road, where we were stopped by the roadblock. There were a LOT of cars lining up already, spilling over into a motel parking lot. We found a place and parked both of our cars. We all got out and walked to those manning the roadblock to find out more. We were told it would be another hour or so, but otherwise that’s all the information they could provide us with. Bob headed back to the car to read his book, whilst Leonne, Alex and I went for a little walk, spoke to some others waiting and then waited ourselves.

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There were so many people in buses waiting to get through to then get on their boat tour on Milford Sound. Unfortunately as time continued on and the roadblock was still in place, it became clear that they would not make their tour and in fact they would not be refunded. It was a pretty shitty bit of news for those people, after all they had been on a bus 4 hours from Queenstown, stopped in traffic for a few more and then in the end had to head back. We felt a little relief in knowing we had not yet booked any tour for the next day, but also hoping with the roadblock there would still be places for the next morning, and also a place for us in the only caravan park in the area…

After around 2 hours of waiting, the road was re-opened. As you can expect everyone rushed to get their car in front and leave first, really it was quite entertaining and sad to watch. Once a majority of the cars had gone through, we followed, allowing plenty of distance between us and those crazy rushers.

In the end we had an easy drive the rest of the way to Milford Sound. We drove through the valley which then took us through a snow covered tunnel and out onto a massive snake road leading down the mountain. It was both breathtaking and scary as!

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We arrived a short while after, with me holding onto the car railing a little too tight and went straight to the caravan park. Luckily we got there just in time and booked two sites for the night.

Originally we had planned on staying two nights in Milford Sound, however when we learnt that a spot for two people would cost $60 per night, we thought one was more than sufficient.

So whilst Bob and Leonne set themselves up, Alex and I headed into the small town, small being an understatement, and looking into a boat tour for the next day.

Again we were fortunate because there were places available for four on the first tour in the morning. And because I always like to get things cheaper, I asked if we could have a discount as it had been displayed on their website but we had not been able to book with them. We had lost network so the technicalities of why we couldn’t book was not necessary. At first he said he couldn’t, but then he said it was only 10% so it didn’t matter too much. Well either way we got discount and were happy to be booked in Woo!

With the next day sorted, we headed back to the campsite, got ourselves comfortable in the campers kitchen, which as you can see was spectacular, and settled in for a relaxing warm night, a little different from the snowy night before.

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