I just got to Te Anau (pronounced tea-anowa) from an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound isn’t actually a sound, it’s a fiord, and it’s less
popular than Milford Sound because it’s harder to get to and requires more time.
I took a shuttle from Te Anau to Manapouri and then a ferry to West Arm in the fiord then a bus (which had been brought this year on a barge) to the dock where the overnight cruise boat was docked. That part took 2 hours.
I was in a quad dorm room with a really cool German named Stephanie and a couple. Since it was fairly expensive, there were mostly old folks and some late 30s couples with kids.
The fiords were incredible, so large they looked small. Nobody has ever lived in the fiords because they are nearly vertical cliffs with no flat parts. There are very few beaches either, it’s just rock covered in moss and tress going into the water.
In our first couple hours, we rode out to a nice spot in the fiordland and stopped for a while to kayak (some people just rode around on the dingys). When we came back we had super yummy soup and bread.
Since the sun is up til nearly 10PM, we were able to watch the fiords and wildlife all day. A pod of rare bottlenose dolphins played near us for a while and there were dramatic waterfalls everywhere. We went out to the Tasman Sea for a short time – it’s very very rough! We rode right up to a small island where sealions were living!
After so much excitement, there was a huge buffet for dinner and gorgeous desserts. I was so tired from the travel and kayaking, I went to sleep early and woke at 6:45 to the engines turning on.
We started back through the fiords, saw more dolphins and waterfalls, and eventually got back to my hostel at Noon. Highly highly recommended trip!
I’ve been in Te Anau all day and can pretty easily say it’s a great place to skip. There is one good thing though – fast Internet at the cafe. So I uploaded a bunch of photos and got some internetting done.
Jacob called me about an hour ago. He’s in poor spirits. The weather has been really bad, he even had to back track! He’s re-planning how to get around the Longwood Forest and when we’ll be meeting in Queenstown. It’s looking like a longer trip than expected. With all the troubles, he’s even more determined to show NZ who’s boss. I’m expecting to hear from him in a few days (5 at most). He’s planning to go from Riverton to Ohai (hitch tomorrow), from Ohai to the Takatinus (1 day), 4 days there, then arrive in the town of Key. I so wish he was here in the warm hostel with nothingto worry about except when the Internet is going to deliver to me Obama’s inauguration speech (faster, YouTube, faster!).
I’m off to Tautapere (pronounced towa-tapre) tomorrow on the Stray bus and spending the night.