Day 22 Te Anau to Milford Sound
Another beautiful sunny day overlooking the lake at Te Anau, but still keeping that chilly wind though; forecasters saying that it will gust NW in places around 130kmh in exposed places, have to keep covered up then! Heading off to Milford Sound today which is about an hours drive from here. It is in Fjord land so should be quite sheltered, fingers crossed. Goodness 1st Feb already; we've already been away 3 weeks. In some ways it feels that we've been gone far longer than that because we've already done so much, but in others it sees the time is going far to quickly. We've had 3 nights in the motorhome now so are gradually getting used to it. It's certainly smaller than we would look to buy in the UK but I am very glad we went for a 4 berth as the 2 berth ones we were originally going to have are pretty cramped. Great, they have switched the electric off now - pretty poor as we have paid for a powered site so need to switch off as we may not go into a campsite for a couple of nights.
Well 2 hr drive to Milford Sound or fjord as it should be called as it is formed by a glacier and not a river, it said 1hr 05min in the guide - yeh right. The road down dropped from 4,000ft to sea level in a very short time so quite a challenging drive. Sadly weather not as good as we had hoped but as they have around 280 days when it rains and 7m of rain in a year I guess we didn't fair too badly. We elected for a Nature cruise along with a trip to the Discovery Centre which is an underwater observation platform some 10m under the water. The cruise itself was good but very similar to those we have done before in Norway. The one difference was the vegetation with the ferns and tree species and the fact we got exceptionally wet under one of the waterfalls which was the equivalent of 50 stories high. Another key difference is the Alpine Fault which runs across the Fjord land splitting the land between the Australian plate and the Pacific plate. The Australian plate which is heavier and moves more slowly than the Pacific is slowly moving under the Pacific and accounts for all of the earthquakes that take place in New Zealand, most of which occur underwater and are not felt at all. Some are though, the last major one being near Christchurch before Christmas. Long haul back to Te Anau including the only one way tunnel I have experienced which is roughly hewn into the rock and goes an uphill gradient all the way. Pulled into another campsite tonight; we were going to freedom camp but needed to recharge the cameras for tomorrow so a power site required; don't want to miss recording the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, otherwise known as Queenstown.