Moving towards Milford

Felt a bit iffy about the petrol (there is no petrol station at Milford) so we went back 25km to Te Anau to fill her up. This was my first experience driving the beast but it was OK - the left-hand drive takes a bit of getting used to though, especially with 6 gears.

First proper encounter with the dreaded sandflies today. Stopped for a picnic lunch and we were swamped by small flying things. I thought sandflies were much bigger, more fly-sized instead of mosquito-sized. But a couple of bites soon put our doubts to rest. They actually don't bite that much (we all were wearing long sleeves), only about one in a thousand seem to have nip. Problem is if you are surrounded by five thousand of them you soon head for the insect repellent (which didn't seem to be too effective).

Stupidly decided to try to do 2 days without changing water. We were very careful with showers and washing up. Bad idea. The most you can manage comfortably is a day and a half. We will survive up to Milford tomorrow but from now on we'll go to a dump site every day. It also looks like the toilet is filling up, no way will it last a week.

After lunch we stopped at a couple of the typical beauty stops on the road. Eglington valley is a huge open grassland where no doubt Argh, son of Ouch, galloped around looking intense and unshaven, yet manly and gorgeous, trying to round up wussy kings to beat the forces of Mordor. A bit further up the road the Mirror Lakes show a perfect reflection of the mountains above (or would do with a bit less wind and a bit more sun). Finally we passed through beautiful forests of ash trees, covered in green moss and probably full of pixies and goblins.

The final stop was the campsite itself. A lovely place next to more pixie forest and a lovely clear glacial river. The weather is a bit beastly so you can't see very far, but occasionally the skies part enough to see brooding mountains covered in wisps of cloud.

Didn't have enough change for the campsite, and no inspectors turned up, so next DOC we will tell them and pay double. There's no point in spending thousands of euros on flights and campervan hire and then cheat a good service out of 15 bucks.

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