Sunday 16 January 2011

Te Anau & Milford Sound

Saturday 15.01.2011

We’d had breakfast and were ready and waiting outside the garage when it opened at 9am. With a full tank of diesel we headed due north on the edge of Fiordland; a vast uninhabited area in the bottom left hand corner of South Island full of mountains, lakes and unspoilt wilderness.
We had elevenses at Lake Manapouri then carried on up through Te Anau and into the mountains, heading for Milford Sound which lies at the end of Highway 94. The guidebook quoted 2 hours for the trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound; it took us about 5. We kept stopping to go “Wow!” and take photos.
Eglinton River.
Mirror Lakes.
Lake Gunn, where we went for a walk.
Mt Christina lookout, where we had lunch.
The corrie at Homer Tunnel while we waited for the traffic lights to change. After the tunnel the road helter-skelters back down to sea level at Milford Sound so fast it makes your ears pop.

At the end of the road there are several car parks, an information centre, a café, an air-strip where the flights over the glaciers take off from, and a harbour and jetty for the scenic cruise ships. It was drizzling when we arrived so we went into the café for a Flat White and waited till it eased up a bit, then went for a short walk round the shore for a better view of the Sound
and this waterfall.
On the drive back toward Te Anau we stopped at The Chasm, a stunning waterfall. The 5 minute walk from the car park is along a beautifully maintained path which ends in a loop over 2 bridges spanning the top and bottom of the falls giving you the best view.
Kiwi tourism at its best. When we got to the tunnel it was after 6pm so the traffic lights weren’t working, luckily there wasn’t anything coming, so we got through without any screaming. We carried on down Highway 94, and stopped for the night at a proper camping ground at Harry Creek, right on the shore of Lake Te Anau. Very basic, but 10NZ$ (£5) for the night, and a view like this
and we had Bambi sausage, mash and red wine gravy for tea.


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