Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18, 2017 - Te Anau & Milford Sound

Today we drove from Te Anau Downs to Milford Sound.  This region is commonly known as Fiordlands.   You can drive to one end of Milford Sound, but after that the only way to see it is by boat, helicopter, or plane.  We opted for a boat ride, suggested by the front desk person where we are staying, which is at the "Fiordland National Park Lodge".  The drive to Milford Sound is spectacular.  A winding road through forests and mountain valleys.  This road has been rated as one of the 10 best roads in the world:

Click here for 10 best roads of the world list

Picturesque drive on the Milford Highway.  Rated as one of the 10 best drives
in the world.

We came across this fantastic sight as we were driving to Milford Sound

There are waterfalls everywhere.  Bright blue water.

Our boat for a "three hour tour" of Milford Sound.  The boat cruises all the
way out to the Tasman Sea hugging one shoreline, and then turns around
and comes back along the other shore.  A great trip, which included lunch.

The wind kicked up and we needed our jackets.
It was a rare sunny day here.  Last summer they only had a
couple of sunny days, according to one of the crew.

Approaching a large waterfall.  It doesn't look like it,
but they said it's as tall as a 50 story building.

Starting to get wet from the spray.  Time to put the
camera away.

The Fiordland Crested Penguin.  We were lucky enough to see one.
New Zealand has two species of Penguins.

Re-entering Milford Sound from the Tasman Sea

Seal Rock

A group of kayaks near shore.  Great scenery in every direction. 
The Peak below is said to be the tallest mountain that rises directly out of the sea in the world.  It is over a mile high.  It is also on the short list for the 8th Natural Wonder of the World.

Click for list of "8th wonder of the world" candidates

Mitre Peak, Milford Sound.  5,560 feet tall. That's 280' more than Denver, CO!
Milford Sound is a World Heritage Site, as declared by UNESCO

One of the many waterfalls here.

A different view of that waterfall.  It is much taller than
it probably looks here.  Everything is much taller than
these photos can portray.

This tunnel on the Milford Highway is more than 3/4 mile long.  It was dark,
long, and one way (stop lights at each end to control the traffic flow).
 It was also sloped downhill quite a bit.  It's all bare rock too, with water dripping from the ceiling.

The entrance to the tunnel.  It cuts right through this
huge mountain.  Wow!
After the boat ride through the Fjords, we went for a hike.  No surprise there, as this has become the hiking vacation for Cindy and I.  Cindy found a nice 3 hour hike.

In the mountains again.  About 3,400 feet.

Great views from here.  

New Zealand has done a fantastic job with their trails.  We have been impressed.

Panorama from the top of our hike.

Cindy dunks her head in this little stream's waterfall. 
It was nice cold water and felt great.  We were quite
warm as there was no shade, and there were no clouds.

Yesterday when we arrived in Te Anau we headed for a playground in a park, at the boat basin.  I wanted to see the boats, and Cindy wanted the playground.  The playground wasn't much at all.  The boat basin was just strange.  I've never seen a mooring system like this before.  The odd part was how you get on and off your boat once it is tied in it's "slip".  A boat is tied to pilings at the stern, and then a few lines are run forward to rings embedded in the cement on land.  That all seems fine.  However, there are no docks to walk on.  Instead you have a home-made boarding plank on wheels that slides down an incline until it just touches your bow.  Then you tie off the ramp and use it to get on your boat.  The raising and lowering of this ramp is all done by hand, none had any sort of electric winch.  None seemed to even have a manual winch.  I can only imagine that these things are pretty hard to move.  Some had heavy metal frames and wheels that were falling apart.  The concrete those wheels have to roll on is very rough.  It must be a hard pull to get some of the ramps back to the top.  I can only imagine the damage that could be done to your boat if the boarding plank got away from you and rolled downhill.  I can only imagine the damage that could be done to your boat if the boarding plank got away from you and rolled downhill.  I think that walking down a wet, slimy slope to your ramp could also be a bit hazardous.  

The only way on/off the boat is to roll the "boarding plank" down the incline
until it is right at your bow.  Each plank would have to be customized to the
height of the boat, and how close the bow can get to shore.

There are not too many boats here.  Look at those ramps.  Wow

A couple of cute boats.  Again, look at this boat's 'boarding plank".

We found a better playground a block away.
A few more "crazy van" pictures to share:

So true   :-)

A group of guys getting ready to hike.
Lots of interesting vans here in New Zealand.  

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing adventure you are having. I have bookmarked your land explorations for when we get there. Thank you for sharing
    Deb and Phil on SV Coastal Drifter