Hubby's plans are the best

When we travel, Hubby does a lot of research and gives me many choices to make as to where we go and what we do. He is very efficient and I think he would be a very good personal travel planner :)
On our SILDI (screw it, let's do it) trip to the south island, we were reminded why Hubby's plans are always way better than being a part of a tour.
For the Doubtful Sound trip, we took an hour trip across Lake Manapouri by boat then through a road pass by bus to the jetty at the Sound. Personally, I wasn't impressed with the trip as both boats were extremely loud and gave me a headache. The bus driver in between was the highlight as he was quite informative and funny. 
As far as I'm concerned, the captain took us out too far into choppy water.  I was not happy with the boat rocking quite hard back and forth just to see the seal colony at the mouth of the sounds--not my idea of a 'cruise'. I would have been happier if he had stayed within the Sound. At least, they had free coffee and tea aboard.

The Milford Sound trip was much easier to get to as we just drove to the Milford Sound Visitor's Center to board the boat. The visitor center was quite busy as there were several cruise check-in counters and many tour buses but it was fun to watch the people scurrying about.
The cruise boat actually had a Pita Pit store and a coffee shop aboard so I'm glad we brought our own lunch. This captain turned around as soon as he hit some bad water, so I was  impressed with that.
I have to mention that an Asian lady insisted that I take one of her family's umbrellas as we waited in the rain to board the boat. I was quite touched by her concern.

All in all, the tours were nice, the scenery was  awesome (even in the rain) and the people were mostly well-behaved but I think I'll stick with Hubby's tours. They are made specifically for me and him!!


trusting GPS

Until we traded in our car last October, I had never owned a car that had GPS. Being an old fashioned girl that can read a map, I am skeptical about this 'new-fangled' stuff, but around Taranaki, we don't have a lot of need for it.

On our trip south, even though we had maps, we got GPS with the rental car that is held onto the windshield windscreen with a suction cup and Hubby was fine to rely on the GPS to get us where we were going. I'm not sure how it determines which road to show us, but the fact that 4 out of 5 times, it asked if we were ok with unpaved roads was interesting, even though I know that dirt roads are part of living in New Zealand.

We had just left Moeraki and Hubby asked for directions to Lawrence as a point in the general direction we were headed. We turned onto a dirt road and I didn't think much about it. But it went on and on. And turned onto another dirt road. After a while we were crossing this crazy looking bridge that I thought was crossing a river but later learned it was across a lake.

On two of the posts along the bridge, we saw copies of this reward poster. When you read the fine print, you learn that it was a replica of a local poster from 1865.

Then it was on to yet another dirt road!

Now, as we are traveling along, I'm sure this is not a well-traveled road because the livestock--mostly sheep--is spooked by our arrival next to their paddocks. One or two are startled and they cause a panic across the whole group of animals.

We also noticed other cars with the suction cup on the front window and realized that they are doing the same thing--relying on GPS. The conclusion we came to is that the district might end up paving these dirt roads if they are going to have so much traffic stirring up so much dust!

I'm pretty sure that we were given the 'shortest' route as opposed to the 'fastest' route but that's ok because we were on vacation  holiday and it really didn't matter. We saw parts of the country that we would never had seen otherwise.