It was raining and cold so we got the bus from Invercargill to Te Auau. The rain was not shower like, you couldn't see more that about 200m away. The bus ride was still beautiful and while we could have cycled it it would have taken two days. Having done 30km in strong wind I am now wiser and chose to avoid this!
When we arrived in Te Anau we couldn't fully see the mountains on the other side of the lake but the views were still stunning. The clouds were sitting on the hills. We checked into our hostel, called Lakeview. The next morning the view was stunning and the sun was out! I went for a walk around the lake and saw huge birds flying in the thermals and a man dragging a port-a-loo accross a field. The birds were beautiful but I couldn't figure out what the man with the port a loo was doing. I then found a swing and 'swang' for the first time in years. It is one of the great things about being on holiday that you can do things like swinging without worrying that you shouldn't be in the playground or that you should be doing more useful stuff.
In the afternoon Nancy went quad biking and I went horse riding. The approach to the horse riding was interesting. They asked if you could ride and they gave you a horse corresponding to the answer. I can ride quite well but the horse that they gave me bucked every time I trotted or cantered. This was par for the course and I wasn't warned. A girl behind me came off her horse and the instructor didn't go back to see if she was ok. All ended fine and it was beautiful. Riding through flocks of sheep was really cool as well. Cantering (I managed to stay on and the horse got bored of bucking after about 50m cantering) along the ridge of a hill with mountains surrounding you is amazing!
The next day we went kayaking in Doubtful Sounds (which is actaully a fiord misnamed by Captain Cook). It was the most beautiful place I have ever been. We had to get a boat across a lake and then a bus over a mountain to get to the fiord but it was definately worth it. The fiord is 75km long but there are only 400-600visitors each day. This meant that it felt like we were exploring unchartered teritory in our two person kayak. There were footplates for steering which were really confusing because you had to push forward in the direction that you wanted to go. Despite this Nancy and I didn't fall in or manage to soak each other which was good. We did get to paddle through overhanging branches to a tree lined area with a waterfall in the middle which was stunning. The boat journey back was beautiful too and we had managed to kayak 14km. The fiord was surrounded by near vertical hills with lots of trees on them. The area gets 8m of rainfall a year (we got rained on a little bit while we were there) so the trees don't need big routes but they still looked impossible. Moss grows on the stone and then lichen grows on the moss creating soil so that beech trees can grow. It meant that the fiord looked green because of the reflection of the trees. I really can't do it justice in describing how amazing it was.