Monday, February 20, 2017

To Te Ananu and Beyond...

We got to Te Ananu towards the evening. It's just a couple of hours away from Queenstown - and kind of like a mid-way point between Queenstown and Milford Sound.
enroute to Te Anau
Milford sound was the Fiord we were heading towards- the one that Rudyard Kipling proclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world.
Milford sound
We did check the weather before we left,(after the deluge in Fraz Josef, it seemed only sensible) and unfortunately it didn't look promising. In fact it was guaranteeing us some serious rain. However, it does rain 2 out of every 3 days in Milford sound, so the chances of catching a day of clear weather was slim anyways.
The next morning, although the skies were more overcast, it wasn't really pouring in Te Anau.
The rainbow over lake Te Anau
Apparently there's no exit at the end of this rainbow.
As we moved through the Fiordland National Park, we made several stops, including Mirror lake and the chasm.
Mirror lake

...and you can see why its called so
Ponchos galore
Duly protected with emergency ponchos, we could enjoy how the water had carved out rather unusual shapes into the rocks.
the woods are lovely, dark and deep...

the Chasm

making for some pretty strange shaped holes
Child 1 and 2 took turns making up more and more gruesome stories about the shapes they imagined in the rocks. At monkey creek, we spotted the blue ducks and a Kea which looked like he was begging for human handouts, nevermind what the signs said about not feeding them.
A blue duck at monkey creek. 
After stern warning to all 3 co-passengers about feeding the birds, Child 1 came up with a more innovating way of attracting them. He started building up a small pile of rocks, and sure enough the Kea came up to investigate.
Beautiful birdie...
Anything but shy, this bird.
The rain continued to pour steadily and I wasn't sure we were going to catch anything at Milford sound- it was a proper downpour once we were there.
we set off amidst the crazy weather

We took the go Orange cruises out the the Milford Sound Fiord. What a lovely, unforgettable cruise! Not only did we spot dolphins (sorry, no pictures- they were too quick), seals and penguins along the way, we enjoyed some fabulous waterfalls and a really good look at the fiordland in all its glory.
Penguins - not a very good picture, but they were rather retiring

The seals
who were so blazè about our cruise, they didn't budge
 Although Lady Bowen and Stirling falls run throughout the year, the rain had created hundreds of little temporary falls which emptied out into the fiord.
Lady Bowen falls
Stirling falls

hundreds of little falls
The staff on the cruise we so, so fabulous, both with how patient they were with both the kids and with their enthusiasm to show you the beauty of the fiords and to field any questions you may have, even strange ones.
The awesome ladies of Go Orange!
Definitely a must do for anyone visiting the islands, despite its remote location.
Our return to Te Ananu was equally beautiful - rainy weather does have a certain poetic beauty.
we drive back in this weather. *sigh* 

... what I wouldn't give for a cutting chai and bhutta

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