Cruising Lake Te Anau

We went on a cruise of the southern end of Te Anau. Peter, the owner and master of the cruise boat was awesome.

The voyage began in the company of a  large gaggle of hikers. This would have proved a challenge, as there are only so many “Heroic First Ascents of the Foredeck” one can credibly make on a 50-foot motor cruiser before people notice you’re recycling the jackstaff every time.

After 40 minutes, however,  Peter marooned them on a beach, left entirely to their own devices and with no hope of survival unless they could manage a leisurely 3km stroll through the forest along a well-managed trail. I fear we shall not hear from them again.

Having stood witness to this grim nautical tradition, we were the only passengers for the reminder of the trip. After a spot of early-voyage marooning, we were not inclined to try our hand at mutiny, so we settled in for a wonderful journey into the South Fiord.

We did this trip with Cruise Te Anau. We’d happily go with them again.

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Mountains and Lake

We walked along a short forest trail around Lake Manapouri. It’s a glacial lake downstream of the amazing Te Anau.

Mountain Cloud Shadows
Mountain Cloud Shadows
Mountain Range
It’s the sheer vertical scale of the place.
A Lake, a Valley, Mountains.
It’s a mountain. It’s hard to convey the sheer hugeness of this landscape.
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Tomtit

This little bird came and checked out what we were doing in his home. He’s a Tomtit ( Petroica macrocephala), living near the Hidden Lakes around Te Anau.

 

Tomtit
My forest, my tree.
Tomtit
Same Forest, Different Tree, Still Mine
Tomtit
My Branch. Get your Own
Tomtit
Still my Forest, Still my Branch
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Queenstown to Te Anau – Snowy Peaks

Today we did the 2.5-hr drive from Queenstown to Te Anau. The snow-covered peaks were a promise of things to come – hopefully – at Milford Sound on Sunday.

Meanwhile here is a little gem: “Te Anau” (the name of the little town we’re staying in and whose only reason for existence is to ferry tourists to Milford Sound) is Maori for “The Lake”. It is situated next to a lake called “Lake Te Anau”. So “Lake Te Anau” means “Lake the Lake”….

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Omarama to Queenstown

The road from Omarama to Queenstown via Wanaka is amazing. From the high-country sheep stations deep into the Southern Alps, then a climb up towards the Remarkable range (really – that’s what it’s called), finishing with a switchback descent into Queenstown, the whole journey is breathtaking.

River in the High Country

 

Mountain in Sheep Country
Mountain in Sheep Country
Road to the Mountain
Road to the Mountain
High Country Panorama
High Country Panorama
Lindis Pass
Lindis Pass – 1000m elevation
Valley in the Southern Alps
Valley in the Southern Alps
Valley in the Southern Alps
Valley in the Southern Alps
Stile over a Fence in the Southern Alps
Stile over a Fence in the Southern Alps
Southern Alps Panorama
Southern Alps Panorama
Switchbacks
Switchbacks
North of Queenstown
North of Queenstown
Mountains over Queenstown
Mountains over Queenstown
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Queenstown Steamer

This lovely old steamer was constructed in 1912, and she’s been spewing noxious coal smoke into the pristine NZ environment ever since.

Lake Steamer
You can smell the sulphur from here
Lake Steamer in Queenstown
Steamer in the Mountains

 

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Queenstown from the Mountains

The Tiny Little Car hauled us up the mountain road from Wanaka towards Queenstown,  neither missing a beat nor being passed by too many cyclists.. Eventually the topography changed in a subtle way. Instead of a relentless, winding climb the road started to curve around a peak. “We’re about to get a view of the valley.” I said.

I was right.

Mountain view of Queenstown
The Valley
Mountain view of Queenstown
Queenstown from 15km
Mountain Peaks
Mountain Peaks above Queenstown
Queenstown Airport
“You are high and left of track. Go around.”
Airbus A320 in the Mountains
Air New Zealand pilots enjoying the best job in the world.
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