Tour of South Island – Day 10
Wednesday 16th February
Although the Gunn camp was very nice and friendly, it was in a valley and the sun didn’t come over the top of the mountain until gone 10am. Unfortunately this is the kind of environment that sand flies flourish in. While we were trying to pack the tent away if I killed one sand fly then I must have killed 80, they were everywhere. We had jeans on luckily because they were crawling up our legs, flying into my face and getting in my hair; I had several bites in my hair.
We packed up the car as quickly as possible and drove down the road to meet Peter and Margie for our walk. The road became a track and you couldn’t drive any further. Peter and Margie were there in their van. A well-graded track took us on a short climb through the rain forest to the lookout of the impressive Humbolt Falls. Unfortunately we couldn’t get any nearer and it wasn’t a good view so we came back down the track, crossed the swing bridge and walked along by the river. It was a lovely setting. This was where we left Peter and Margie for a few days. They wanted to do more hiking in the area but we wanted to make our way further south. I’m sure we’ll bump into them again.
We drove further back down the road to the entrance to Marian falls. We had to cross another swing bridge – I just love these swing bridges, not, and walked along the track through the rain forest again. These falls were more like we were expecting. There were a spectacular series of waterfalls which we viewed from a gantry that hugged the side of the steep bank.
We drove back across the glacial moraine towards Te Anau with superb Alpine views. Half way down we stopped at the Mirror lakes to gaze at the marvellous reflective views of the Earl mountains behind them.
Once through Te Anau we joined the Southern Scenic Route that was to take us right round the southern side of the island. We stopped briefly at Manapouri to look at the lake of the same name with its stunning mountain views. Manapouri is the departure point of boat trips out to the power station at the other side of the lake. It’s possible to continue across a short stretch of land onto Doubtful sound where you join another boat trip. We really wanted to do this but it’s a whole day and way beyond our budget. So we just enjoyed the view. We continued our drive ever further south.
We swapped the mountains for soft rolling hills very like the South downs. We passed through Tuatapere, which is the centre of a farming community and is known as the ‘Sausage Capital of New Zealand’. Sadly we couldn’t buy any because we didn’t have any where to keep them. We continued down to the sea and stopped at Te Waewae bay for a picnic. It was a bit windy on the cliffs but there were breathtaking views of the bay. This was as far southwest as we could go so we turned the car eastward and started driving along the coast.
It was a beautiful calm sunny day but we noticed some thing odd about the trees; they were leaning right over. These trees aren’t being blown by the wind they have grown like that. It gave us an insight of how windy it must get along this coast – glad we didn’t bring the boat down here.