To Te Anau and one of the most photographed bits of the country.
Friday 4 January 2013 - Monday 7 January 2013
Friday 4 January
The ferry ride was against reasonably flat, although one young lad did not think so and puked up his breakfast. The staff are used to that and have wipes and so on to clean it up.
The drive to Te Anau was via highway 99. This goes via the southern coast at Te Waewae Bay and then inland via Tuatapere and Lake Manapouri.
A great cloud formation at Te Waewae Bay.
Te Waewae Bay.
Te Waewae Bay and the southern most portion of the Southern Alps.
The Southern Alps.
Te Anau is a touristy town and is the base for tours in the southern portion of the Southern Alps, especially Milford Sound. The YHA is modern and comfortable.
Saturday 5 January
I booked a boat ride on Milford Sound so I set off early to beat the rush of traffic, especially the bus tours. The 121km trip is very scenic, especially the Eglington River portion. The fog was still hanging around as I climbed into the mountains, especially by Homer Tunnel.
The Eglington River.
The morning fog at the entrance to Homer Tunnel.
The entrance to Homer Tunnel.
The fog is lifting.
I arrived in Milford Sound about 10:30 ish, struggled to find a parking space and once I did, mooched around the terminal building taking photos of the boats and the sound.
The classic view of Milford Sound and Mitre Peak.
A tourist boat setting off.
One of the many boats that tour the sound.
The boat trip was very scenic (starting to over use that phrase a bit, but then it totally true, this piece of NZ and the world is spectacularly beautiful), the boat comfortable and the captain knowledgeable with his commentary.
We moseyed along the sound stopping at waterfalls (including sticking its bow underneath one of them) and various interesting points until we got to the entrance of the sound at the Tasman Sea. We then turned around and came back.
Lady Bowen Falls (162m high)
Back up the sound with Lady Bowen Falls on the left.
Stirling Falls (155m high).
Washing the front of the boat (and anyone on the bow) under a waterfall.
Yet another set of waterfalls at over 100m high.
The view from the entrance back up the sound.
A colony of juvenile male fur seals.
Typical teenagers, always asleep.
The boat provides some sense of scale. Stirling Falls at 155m high.
Heading back up the sound to the port area.
The only anchorage in the sound and the underwater observatory.
The scale of the sound is shown by the tiny wee boat.]
The drive back to Te Anau was equally as good and I got back mid afternoon. Found a good pub for steak and Speights for dinner.
Sunday 6 January
A lazy day wandering around Te Anau, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee and doing very little.
Monday 7 January
Left Te Anau for the drive back to Dunedin. The weather was not very good so did not stop until I got to Invercargill for a particularly good lunch. I got back to Dunedin on time and the car rental firm were kind enough to give me a ride to the airport as they were collecting customers from there. The flight back to Auckland via Wellington was fine.
In all, a good ten days away. The weather was a bit horrible at times but this did not detract from the enjoyment of it. I just needed to take my better rain coat rather than the flimsy thing I did take with me.