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Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting to Doubtful Sound

Day 7 was the halfway point of our trip & when we finally headed down to the crown jewel of New Zealand- the Fiordlands. We'd booked most of this part of the tour with Real Journeys & we left our car in a parking lot in QT & took a coach bus the other way around Lake Wakatipu, around the mountains and across the plains to Te Anau.

We passed through some lovely scenery & there was some decent commentary on the bus.

Many more beautiful mountains rolled by & we stopped for a quick breakfast snack along the way.

The bus itself was pretty cool- it was comfy & had these giant panorama windows over head to offer a great view & the seats in the rear of the bus were elevated quite a bit to see forward. It wasn't all that awesome until we were on the buses heading towards Milford Sound that I really appreciated all the extra windows.

More golden tussocks- I know they aren't really all that impressive at 60mph, but they were really beautiful to see in person, waving in the wind.

I'd been waiting to see the classic line-o-sheep all walking along a mountain side.

Loved having my 18-200mm lens with me!

We caught some really beautiful cloud formations over the peaks.

Finally passed our first deer farm- it was so strange to see all these animals grazing around like cows.

As we moved westward, we started seeing some bigger and more beautiful peaks in the distance.

The bus took us as far as the RJ office in Lake Manapouri where we boarded a ferry to ride across the lake to West Arm.

H was just happy to have cell service in the area & made a quick call back to the office.

All aboard the boat! We'd left our big bags in our car in QT & backed overnight bags for 2 nights (1 on the boat in Doubtful Sound & 1 night in Te Anau).

Although it was bright and sunny in Manapouri, it quickly got very cloudy and windy once we were out on the lake. Many of the people upstairs came down quickly and/or got soaked during the ride.

It always looked like we were sailing towards a coastline, but we'd turn and thread our way back into the mountain valleys.

We started seeing clouds on top of many of the peaks & occasionally got a few drops of rain on us.

It's hard to tell, but that's another boat in front of us- it's so tiny compared to the huge, towering mountains.

On the west shore of the lake is the Manapouri Power Station. It is the largest hydroelectric dam in New Zealand. Real Journeys also offers a tour if you have time- the bus actually drives over a mile underground into the tunnels.

Another short bus ride across across the strip of land between West Arm in Lake Manapouri & Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound. It was an unpaved road & it only for use with the very few cars that take the ferry over.

The mountain and cliffs covered in clouds were now a common site once we crossed the divide.

Everybody on the bus was so excited to finally get to the fiords and be in Doubtful Sound, but we stopped and took a quick picture overlooking the water.

From the view at the top of the mountain, I knew it was going to be a spectacular and surreal type of place. We started seeing dozens of waterfalls- some already huge & the rain began to fall almost nonstop.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Got out of a last minute trip to Dallas- I'm glad to be staying home instead.

1 comment:

courtina said...

you have the greatest journey!