These ones are settling in to roost for the night.
This Water Dragon decided we were offending on his dominance, so he flopped into the water and swam over to chide us fiercely.
It’s 120km from Te Anau to Milford Sound. For the first 50km the road follows the lake through farmland. It’s normal, everyday gorgeous. Once you leave the lake behind the road starts to climb. Soon, the terrain goes from ‘Gorgeous’ to ‘Utterly Mind-blowing.”
There’s not much of that in this post. Mountains will come later.
First, a glimpse of mountains to come. There are some shallow lakes in the flat glacial valley floor called the Mirror Lakes. Here’s why:
Jumping to the other end of the journey, the cruise boats do a loop from the head of the sound (actually a fjord) out to the Tasman and back. Here’s the view of the sound from the sea:
Next: Dolphins! We were fortunate to run into a pod of 12-15 Bottlenose Dolphins happily messing about and hunting in a fairly desultory way.
Finally, these NZ Fur Seals were having a tough day on the rock. These are young males who haven’t established a territory, so they while away their days goofing with their mates, snoozing on the Team Rock and doing a bit of fishing. Life is tough.
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.