Monday 18 May 2015

A trip to South Island, New Zealand (5): Te Anau

Welcome back. I feel like I should get this done as soon as possible because I'm starting to forget some details in it, but let's deal with Te Anau, another early settlement in the South Island.

It had been more and more rural as we headed further south. Fiordland is the SW-most region of the country and is merely inhabited. Te Anau is a small town besides the Te Anau lake and acts as an gateway of the Fiordland national park. The tramping track here looks even harder comparing with the one in Mt Cook and we didn't have time to have a go -- but it is quite dull here otherwise. In fact, the argue over the pronunciation of the town's name is even more interesting.

 It's another 2 hours of bus trip from Queenstown from here. Different from Queenstown there aren't many thrilling entertainment here. The most popular one is probably tramping in the National Park nearby, or walking besides the lake nearby. It looks a great resort in a sunny day as the above, but westerlies brings clouds to the western part of the island so frequently, and that the city looks completely grey.

Fortunately it has another great spot nearby, the Milford Sound. The name Fiordland comes from the word "fiord"(fjord) or sounds in English, mean deep valley. Fiordland is full of these valleys each extending to the Tasman sea. Among them Milford sound is the most accessible and the most famous sound, and is another a few hours from Te Anau. We went there for a one day boat trip instead of staying in this little town looking at the cloudy sky.

Milford sound itself isn't the sole tourist spot on our way --- there are lots of nature miracles along the infamous highway 94. One of the main character along this highway is that it's surrounded by the Southern Alps throughout. In Mt Cook the Alps surrounded the settlement like a circle round the epicenter but this is different: mountain that comes close in both sides delivers a strong impression on the name 'fjord' itself.

Another remarkable spot is the lakes and falls around. Melted snow along with various mineral often produce interesting effect on the water body. One of the example is the mirror lake above, with a strong ability to reflect even at small incident angle. Successive falls embedded in deep hills and temperate forests are also amazing.

The bus eventually takes us to a port where boat goes around the Sound during the whole afternoon. The following summarizes notable features around the sound: water body surrounded by massive ranges with gusty winds, super high falls that water breaks into small particles before reaching the bottom, and seals in the wild lazily rolling and flipping around.

Oh I should also mention that there is a tavern like restaurant with forgotten names that provide excellent lamb dishes. It probably the only big tavern there so it should be pretty easy to find. As usual I enjoyed a few good pasta lunch there, but this tavern is the best in my opinion.

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