We’re based in Te Anau at the moment, a ‘big’ place in Fjordland. Fjordland is the biggest National Park of New Zealand.. it just big. What we are doing here? Well, having a look at the fjords, of course! They are somewhat hard to reach and of the 14 or so fjords only two can be easily visited: the super-famous Milford Sound that can be reached by road (that’s still ahead of us) and the more remote Doubtful Sound. Now, because it is the end of the season here (autumn, remember), not all places are quite full anymore. But if all the planes flying over us on the Routeburn were bound for Milford which I reckon they were, it must be a pretty busy and noisy place. So we opted for an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. What a treat! :)
First we had to cross Lake Manapouri, then take a bus over a pas to reach the fjord and our vessel. Fantastic weather – a rarity in Fjordland which is known for its rain (oh, and the sandflies.. but they don’t like the cold, haha) The sights! Oh, and the food! We got to stay in bunk beds, though (the cheapest option, of course, but hey!). On our way to the sea we met a pod of dolphins feeding. We saw a superb sunset and heaps of seals.. sailing between the snowcapped mountains on the calm waters, listening to the waterfalls on the steep rocks and later watching the most amazing night sky ever, looking out into the night and beyond the rising mist on the surface of the sea.
Guys – this is the place to be. No wonder it’s part of a World Heritage Area! And by the way, if anyone comes around Te Anau, check out the Shadowland movie in the cinema! It’s just half an hour, but the pictures are just.. breathtaking. It just cannot be real – but it is. It’s New Zealand.
Lake Te Anau in the morning mist
On Lake Manapouri almost after the boat ride. If you look closely you can see a part of the big big power station that produces about 14% of the country’s electricity! What it does is take the water from the lake which is about 400 metres above sea level and instead of letting it run into the sea over rivers like it normally would have it run through tunnels into Doubtful Sound – wow! And the really amazing thing is that it seems to have no impact on the environment at all – there were plans to raise the lake level which would have destroyed a lot of the shoreline, forests and small islands, but the people of New Zealand stopped that from happening and now the lake level is managed in it’s natural state.. :)
Doubtful Sound from the pass – what a nice nice day!
Kayaking on the sound – the big vessel has quite a few kayaks to launch from the back..
What a sight.. :)
Looking back at the end of the Journey. :D