Fiordand National Park in the south west corner of New Zealand was our next stop. Part of the Te Wahipounamu (the place of Greenstone) World Heritage area, it is made up of multiple “Sounds” which are technically fiords, (as they are glacial carved).
We booked a kayaking trip on Doubtful sound (named as Captain Cook thought it doubtful the wind in the sound would blow his ships back to sea) recommended by Sel and Danny. First though, we drove 2 hours from Te Anau (gateway to the National Park) up to Milford Sound (which is the only Sound accessible by road). Stunning scenery on the way. After camping halfway up the road we got up early to have a look at the impressive Mirror Lakes which reflect the mountains behind. We pushed on and stopped for a 3 hour walk in the surrounding mountains. When we returned to the van we couldn’t start it! No signal on phones either and a kayaking trip booked for the following day. After absolutely zero panicking by anyone… we managed to push start it with the help of friendly passers by. We hot footed straight back to Te Anau. Jeremy from the garage thought the starter motor had gone (I agreed). We stayed an extra night in Te Anau whilst we waited for parts to arrive and postponed our Kayaking tour by a day. We put the day to good use however, discovering ‘Miles better Pies’ a local pie shop. Sarah told the woman behind the counter “These are the best pies I’ve ever tasted and I’m from the north of England!” High praise indeed.
The kayaking trip the following day was worth the wait. Doubtful Sound, the largest of the Sounds in Fiordland is not easy to get to. First a boat ride into the west arm of Lake Manapouri followed by a 20 minute bus ride the other side. Cloudi Rainbow (half Native American) was our guide. The day was fantastic. Sheer cliffs carved out by glaciers arose from the dark blue water of the fiord. Ben – some serious Lord of the Rings filming was done here! We were lucky enough to catch sight of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin too.
The following day we set off toward Invercargill.