How can this be? A massive storm is supposed to roll in tomorrow but today is the clearest, sunniest day yet! We wake up to our own, secluded bay. I make breakfast and we are out to sea, around “The Hole In The Rock” and headed to Army Bay. Kim, our host, has explained that the best muscling is a short dingy's ride from the bay and a well established hiking path takes us across the island.
We only spent one night in Twizel and launched back on the road for one last bid for a rain free hike. This time we aim for Christchurch and its scenic peninsula.
Leaving Queenstown is a flurry of packing and cleaning. Our next destination, Twizel, is a 3 hour drive with an additional 1.5 hour drive to reach the base of Mount Cook and our intended 3 hour in-out hike through Hooker's Valley to the base of a glacier.
The day starts with a drizzle. Weather reports promise more of the same. Yet, tour guides assure us that these are ideal conditions to visit the Milford Sound. Many waterfalls along the Sound only flow during rain. In fact, there are only two permanent waterfalls. We see dozens.
We schedule two days in Taupo with the intent to use the best day of weather to take the 8-hour hike along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Day 1 was out, the remnants of the storm that passed through two days ago still swirled about the snow capped peaks. Peaks that have stood in for Tolkein's Mount Doom in the Peter Jackson Lord of the Ring films.
It is now Day 2. While the sky is blue and we can see the peaks clearly across Lake Taupo, storms are anticipated in the afternoon. Access to the pass is closed.
Our friends in Tuscon, Arizona are adamant: you should go camping in Coronado National Forest. To our surprise, the entry point for their particular camping area is the same we took nearly a year ago to the day when we visited Kentucky Camp.