Tour of South Island – Days 7 and 8
Sunday 13th February
We didn’t know where Peter and Margie had ended up but we had been planning to go Te Anau today so we thought if we continue on down there we’d probably bump into them. Meanwhile our concern was where could be get a shower? Idea – Go swimming. We found a lovely pool in the next town so we had a nice swim, sat in the spa pool to soothe both our backs and then had showers and I washed my hair, perfect. We continued our drive down the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu.
At the bottom of the lake we saw a signpost to the Kingston Flyer, a steam train. We decided to go and have a look. As we drove into the car park we found Peter and Margie having lunch in their van, how spooky was that? We had no idea they had stopped there. We all thought it was very funny. The ironic thing was that the train track had closed down and the train had been retired but the old waiting room had an interesting museum in it and a nice coffee shop.
We all continued on our way to Te Anau, which took several hours to drive, but not a lot to see except sheep, sheep and more sheep.
Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and lies nestled on the edge of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in South Island. Across the silvery blue waters is some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery. The four ‘arms’ of the lake extend many miles into the mountains to the west. These arms once held glaciers which flowed into one main trough, grinding out what now forms the bed of lake Te Anau. We drove out to a D.O.C camp on the outskirts of Te Anau. We pitched our tent next to Peter’s van among the trees.
We had the most fantastic views across the lake for our evening drinks but unfortunately the camp was inundated with mosquitoes. It also only had one compost toilet, which absolutely stank.
We had to spray the tent with fly killer before we dare open the inside. It was a cold night and I didn’t get much sleep. The next morning we had to spray again because there were thousands of mossies and sand flies buzzing around. When Bill packed up the tent we shook the dead ones into a mug and they filled it! With the mossies and the compost toilet I stamped my feet and declared no more DOC sites.
We had one more look at our stunning view of the lake and then drove into Te Anau and found a nice insect free campsite. Margie and I spent the morning doing washing and interneting and I had a nice long shower, Peter went for a walk and Bill visited the local hardware store. In the afternoon we drove into the town to look around the shops. We also went to the local cinema to watch a film on Fiordland; it was spectacular. It had been filmed by a local helicopter pilot and showed the part of Fiordland that can’t be reached by land; the waterfalls were breathtaking. During the hour it was showing we just watched, mesmerised, all wishing we could see it for ourselves. As it was Valentines day we all went out for a super meal in the evening.