Saturday, 11 June 2011

Final Days In New Zealand

Since we had finished the Kepler quicker than what we thought we might we got to spend some extra time around Te Anau and the Fiordland National Park.  We got to do all the classic outings.

I have to say Te Anau felt like it was a place where old people go to holiday, the average age of the typical tourist was a lot higher than that out on the track.  Te Anau certainly seemed to be a town of two tourists.

The Bond-esque power station
We did get to go to Doubtful Sound, which is the much more remote fiord than the famous Milford, so there were far fewer tourists out there.  We had to catch a ferry across a lake to a hydro-electric power station then take a bus along a dirt road to the coast where we could board another boat to check out the sound.

We did get to tour the underground hydro-electric power station.  That was a rather strange interlude on the tour.  We got loaded into two buses and then drove a couple of kilometres almost straight down before stopping at the end, unloading and being shown this rather strange room lit up by fluorescent lighting.  I think it was the power station owner's way of trying to engage the public, in what had initially been a very contentious power station.

It was a pretty wet day so the scenery wasn't spectacular, actually I'm sure it would have been spectacular, we just couldn't see it.

One bonus was that we got to see a lot of New Zealand fur seals and one lone crested penguin.  He was a pretty cool looking little dude.  I think the rest of his gang had already left land, I think they only come into the sound when they have to moult.
Little crested penguin, chilling by his cave

The following day, the weather cleared and we got to experience the famous Milford Sound in really fantastic weather.  The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is really something else.  Highly recommended, as is a trip on the sound.  Basically there's no point coming to this part of New Zealand if you aren't going to tour up the fiord.  What was more amazing was how great the weather was given how truly terrible it was for the proceeding three days.

Clouds still covering the peaks

Clouds streaming off Mitre Peak in the early morning

Dave on the boat with the dramatic scenery of the sound

One of the many waterfalls along the route

The unassuming entrance to the sound

Apparently the cliffs extend straight down under the water

A clear view of Mitre peak

A waterfall at the start of the Routeburn
On the way back to Te Anau we stopped off at the end of the Routeburn track to walk a little ways up and try and get some alpine scenery.

What the kepler would have looked like

A cool duck back in Te Anau

No comments: