Saturday March 29;
More amazing scenery greeted us this morning on the drive further south along the Southern Alps. Other than a couple of small towns and lots of farm land there was very little sign in habitation. At Te Anau we stopped for lunch and had to try the infamous New Zealand meat pie. My seafood pie was delicious and filled with chunks of real sea food, not just sauce :).
We met Brad at the ferry terminal and boarded the boat on Lake Manapouri where we heard a commentary as we enjoyed the beautiful views in Fiordland National Park. After disembarking we again boarded a bus and a 22 km drive to the hostel at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. During the week it’s used as an outdoor education centre.
After settling in Brad distributed clothing appropriate for Fiordland and we wondered why we brought clothes. Most of us donned our new adorable outfit and Brad took us for a walk in the bush. We were happy the rain stayed a way as it’s the rain forest and one of the wettest places in the world with about 6-7metres of rain in about 235 days per year. Brad was disappointed. He said we get more waterfalls when it rains. Okay. We were happy to just not get wet.
2 hours later and back at the hostel we discovered Melissa had been busy and was pretty much finished with dinner (tea) preparations. We enjoyed a delicious spaghetti, garlic bread and salad dinner AND Brad made peach crisp and custard for dessert. Nice!
We watched all the videos of some of them doing canyon swings, then a beautiful video about the fiords and then went for another walk. We tried walking in the dark but with no moon or stars it was pitch black. I used the screen on my camera to light our way. Brad trying calling a kiwi but I guess she went out for the evening as she never answered. We did get treated to a great display of glow worms though.
I wimped out and went on a boat cruise rather than kayaking Doubtful Sound (actually a fiord). When he said about 4 hours I pictured my arms falling off in exhaustion and took the easy way out. Both transport methods had their merit. The kayaks got up close and personal with a waterfall or two AND got to paddle along with dolphins. On the cruise we got all the way out to the Tasman sea and the mouth of the fiord where we watched seals frolicking. The views were spectacular in spite of the drizzly, foggy morning. We were treated with TWO sightings of yellow crested penguins, the rarest penguins in the world. The second bunch were even porpoising for us! Apparently that’s the most efficient way for them to cover the greatest distance in the water. Along the bank we got to watch dolphins swimming and then jumping with their calves as they played in the wake from our boat. For all of us it was a sterling morning!
The other passengers disembarked and boarded buses. We walked the 15 minutes to the hostel where we finished cleaning up and boarded a bus to the ferry. Up one side of the mountain and down the other where the forest changes to that odd beech tree they used in Lord of the rings we drove. Another ferry and then we were back on our bus to Arrow town, a cute little town whose main street is lined with beautiful maple trees. After an ice cream we were back on the road passing wineries and the first commercial bungee jump.
The final stop was at Wedderburn where we had a nice lamb roast dinner at a pub and settled into the farm house.