Rain, rain...come again? (Te Anau, 23 Feb 2012)
Fiordland rejoices in the reputation as one of the wettest places in the world. Some parts get 8m of rain a year (that's 26 feet to you limeys). That's over twice as much as the wettest place in Britain (in Snowdonia if you're interested). Even Te Anau, which is in the rain shadow of the mountains, gets 1.2m (47"). So it wasn't that surprising when we woke up to the sound of rain this morning. What was less expected was our coach driver, Alex, trying to persuade us that Fiordland was at its best in a downpour. Mind you he had a point - the number and size of the waterfalls was spectacular. Nonetheless it was with some relief that the rain stopped just as we got to Milford Sound. At least we would be able to see something, unlike Kate last time she was here and the couple we met the other day - all of whom had come and seen nothing - except the rain that is.
And what a sight! Milford Sound brings out all the cliches about superb and spectaculalr scenery. But they are fully justified. It is simply stunning. Sheer cliffs fall 1,000m into the fiord (apparently a more correct designation than sound). Waterfalls plunge over the cliffs - but even ones several hundred feet high are dwarfed by the surroundings. Photographs don't do it justice - but that didn't stop me taking quite a few. It is undoubtedly one of the special places on earth.
Needless to say it was raining again by the time we got off the boat and back on the bus. At least Alex was happy. As he told us "there's no such thing as bad weather, you're just wearing thew wrong clothes."