Paul's Round The World Trip 2008 travel blog

Wed 18 - Fri 20 June 2008 - Manapouri

Travelling through beautiful NZ countryside and farms where mountains are covered in lush forest and snuggle up to one another like sleeping giants, I make my way to Manapouri on ice-cold Lake Manapouri - gateway to the fiords, with misty peaks, glistening lakes and utter remoteness.

I found this terrific hostel arrangement (and incidntally one of the cheapest places I have stayed in here in Oz and NZ). It was a bunkhouse / hut on the farms hillside, overlooking the lake, no electricity, a pot-belly stove for heat and hot water, candles for light, and wandering horses waking me up in the night as they feed themselves outside!

Thursday 19 June - Lake trip to Doubtful Sound

The beautiful and massive Doubtful Sound has magnificent views of rugged peaks, dense forests and raging waterfalls - if its bee rainy hard. It was originally looked over by Capt Cook who only observed it when passing in 1770, saying that he was "doubtful" whether the winds in the sounds would be strong enough to get him back out to Tasman Sea, leaving it foir the Spanish to investigare further in 1793.

The journey across the lake from Manapouri Town on the smallish ferry was very pretty. The sun was out and the surrounding peaks looked as majestic as ever. It was then a coach trip from the massive and impessive Power Station, through the Wilmott Pass to the sound itself where we all boarded another floating vessel for our tour. The weather had turned - grey and overcast now, but not enough rain to produce the rampant waterfalls that the area is renowned for. Being winter we were not able to see penguins or dusky dolphins which frequent the area. However we did manage to see seals lazing around on the rocks of Nee Island at the sound's mouth to the Tasman Sea.

Doubtful Sound is exquisitely peaceful and indeed feels quite remote. At one point in the inner depths of the sound the skipper switched off the boat's engines and we were truly experienced "the Sound of Silence". It was so very quiet.

On the journey back we stopped off at the Power Station and were taken on a tour of its "inner depths".

A great day and tomorrow I'm off to Milford Sound and will be interested to see how it stacks up with Doubtful. No douting the fact though that Doubtful Sound is truly majestic.

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