Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004


Towards the Fiords (and yes, that's how they spell it here!)

I awoke just after 0700 and, for once, didn't doze off again. A glance out through the 'conservatory' blinds revealed that the weather in Dunedin was very poor - leaden skies and heavy rain. Undaunted, I got myself organised and went for a breakfast of poached eggs on toast in the hotel dining room. It makes such a difference when you get up at a reasonable time : I was checked out and ready for the road by 0900.

I had feared that the journey to Te Anau might end up taking a large part of the day. Not a bit of it : the roads were exceptionally quiet and I was able to make good progress most of the time, arriving in Te Anau at 1300. For the first time since arriving in New Zealand, I had enjoyed the drive   There was more good news to follow - my room was ready and waiting for me, despite my early arrival and, furthermore, I had been allocated one of the villa rooms - a little house all to myself

I almost forgot : the weather had gradually improved the further into the journey I got and by now it was glorious. Funny that - I had read that the western half of the island was much wetter than the east. Obviously not all the time!

In no time at all, I was out exploring the village on foot. One look at the lake views and I knew that, at last, this was why I had wanted to come to New Zealand. This was what had drawn me from the other side of the world. The glorious views in the perfect autumn weather and the friendly little town gave me a feeling of both well-being and anticipation of even greater things to come. But before all that - lunch! I tracked down a little baker's shop-cum-cafe and had a toasted sandwich with ham, cheese and onion, a delicious date scone and a large mug of caffe latte. Mmmm ... simple things can sometimes be so nice. As I ate, I formulated a plan to take in Milford Sound the following day which, if it were achievable given the need for me to be in Queenstown by evening, could quite possibly turn out to be the highlight of the whole trip. I called in at the local tourist office, where the staff were able to confirm that what I had in mind was easily achievable, with a total driving time of 7 hours. It would be a long day, but well worth it.

But back to today! I decided to have a look round nearby Lake Manapouri, so jumped in the car and drove the 20km. This is where the famous Doubtful Sound trip leaves from, which I certainly wouldn't have time to do on this particular trip. Again, it was nice to look around and take in the lake and mountain views in the strong sunshine. Heading back to Te Anau once more, I filled the car up with fuel so that it would be one less thing to worry about in the morning.

I had a most enjoyable dinner in the hotel dining room, comprising pumpkin soup (nothing special), New Zealand lamb fillets in mustard gravy (superb) and some cheese. I decided to go to bed reasonably early, full of hope and anticipation for an excellent day's touring tomorrow.

Te Anau

Lake Manapouri

Wed 17 Mar

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