My dad decided he needed to get away, and I think he chose the farthest place away that speaks English. He was there for a month, and he told me that I was welcome to join him. After a great deal of debate, I decided to go for a week, and just visit the south island. The last time I went, it was winter in the southern hemisphere; this time, it was summer, and the weather was beautiful. I was able to show my dad some of the spots I had visited last time, and we also got to see some new things as well. Though I drove by Mount Cook the last time, there were too many clouds to even see the mountain. This time, not only did we see it, but we hiked almost up to the base of the mountain. The Southern Alps are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, and Mount Cook is the crown jewel. It was well worth the drive from Wanaka. We stayed in Wanaka for two nights; the rest of our nights were in Queenstown. We visited some of the nearby Central Otago wineries, went up the gondola to the top of the mountain that overlooks the city, and even took some day trips to Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
Really, my only complaint is the ridiculous amount of time it takes to get there and back. Eight days was just long enough to justify the trip. To make matters worse, the wonderful United States, in all its wisdom, is now requiring complete searches and pat-downs of everybody entering the country, before they even board the plane. This meant that, in coming back home, I got to go through security three times, get two pat-downs, and have my carryon bag searched. What fun.