14 March 2017

A Million Sheep & A Dozen Lions - To Cromwell and Te Anau

Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
' The Road Must Eventually Lead to the Whole World ' Jack Kerouac

 Soon making a mad dash for Christchurch and the start of our 
' On The Way Home ' leg.  


We are beginning to run out of time on this trip and there are still several additional stops we would like to make. Our priorities are wildlife viewing and hikes to see several rare penguins, albatross and dolphins. So, given the very rainy start to this day, we've decided to just drive and move further south and inland as far as we can get. To get to some of those difficult-to-reach, remote places, we may need a boat cruise.

That's US - white camper, orange circle, map below.

Our first stop CROMWELL, is located at a major highway junction that connects either the west or east coasts near the southern end of the South Island. The weather forecast for the next 3-4 days will determine which way we head.


Impressive scenery on the South Island along the stretch of Highway 6 that cuts across the northern end of the park.

Another rainy day ... but, once we checked the weather forecast, our route choice was decided.
THE DRIVE: Cromwell to Te Anau

A promise of clearing on the west coast in a couple of days.

We've certainly enjoyed everywhere we've been in New Zealand, but ' as drives go ' ...  the bottom of the South Island and in particular highways 6 (& 94) through the Kawarau Gorge above the Kawarau River and along Lake Wakatipu is some of the nicest scenery we've seen anywhere, in our travels ... even on this very rainy day ... (easy for us to say, we were here, you'll need to use a bit of imagination)

Once the road exits the gorge it enters a wide rolling valley packed with endless vineyards, fruit farms and monstrous herds of sheep, cattle and red deer ... I'm convinced that I saw a million sheep today!


Kepler Track: Section - Rainbow Reach to Moturua Hut

This walk begins at a suspension bridge. Soon after the trailhead, the first challenges encountered are a couple of quick switchbacks and a short run of quite steep grade. The hardest part over, the trail quickly levels out and then follows along the banks of the Waiau River for a good distance. Principal scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed near this part of the river. It then drops down to a lush, green, moss-covered beech forest. This will be the landscape for most of the remainder of the trail, with a brief stop to visit and cross a pleasant kettle bog. Eventually, after a slow gentle descent the Motura '54 Bunk Backpackers Hut' and Lake Manapouri come into view. 

Additional Photos ... Heather! Spot the Green Moray, Helen on yet another suspension bridge, a Chaffinch

The highpoints of this trail are the ... remarkable lushness of the forest, the 100 shades of green and the natural mossy topiary that has captured and enveloped the forest floor. 

Lake Manapouri / Doubtful Sound

This is a full day ' Coach and Cruise ' adventure (7 am to 4 pm). It's a difficult location to get to, but it was worth the effort. We travelled with Real Journeys for the duration. Excellent service, highly recommended!

The trip requires a bus shuttle from Te Anau to Manapouri, a catamaran cruise across Lake Manapouri, a second bus shuttle over the Wilmott Pass Road, ending with a second catamaran cruise on board the Patea Explorer that sails the complete length of Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. The return trip down the Sound sails all three arms on the starboard side. 

If you're interested, the history of the ' landlocked ' Wilmott Pass Road is a good read, click here.
Photos ... an early morning crossing of Lake Manapouri, then the sun blazed through, our first view of Doubtful Sound (from Wilmott Pass), our first Albatross sightings, cloud-shrouded peaks, Fur Seals, looking southeast down the mouth of the sound, looking southerly along the Tasman Sea coastline.


' There Are No Blackflies In New Zealand ' 

... and yet!, here's a picture of one! The scientists who study these insects tell us that New Zealand sandflies are taxonomically blackflies ... and that's good enough for me. But, what Kiwis call Sandflies are actually what we call Blackflies in Canada. I have shown a New Zealander a blackfly biting me and he called it a sandfly. When I tell them that sandflies are about 1/4 the size of blackflies and that I have, both seen them and had them bite me here in NZ, they pretend to have never seen them or to know what I am talking about! Wierd! These are the real Sandflies. Doesn't matter much, they both deliver a nasty bite! Blackfly bites hurt & bruise and sandfly bites sting & burn. And BTW, they also have mosquitos.
Follow us by opening TRAVEL MAP 2016/2017 on the right sidebar ([view larger], zoom +/-, pan around).   
Click on any photo (some stock) in this post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos. 
Wikipedia provides some content. 

Crusty & Wry ... 

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty