Te Anau

Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
Trip End Mar 03, 2007

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

We Managed to clamber out of our tents after last nights downpour and soon enough were cruising the twenty odd kms to Te Anau, driving alongside lake Manapouri and then lake Te Anau.

Our first stop was at the Wildlife Centre on the entrance to town. Here there were some out door enclosures housing native New Zealand birds including Keas, Kakas, Weka, Parakeets and the extremely rare Takahae. It was the first time I had seen many of these birds up close and personal. New Zealand really does have some extremley rare and beautiful native birds. The Takahae was thought extinct for many years but some were found in a remote area of Fiordland and are now part of a huge effort to save them form becoming another lost species.

After the bird enclosure we cruised into Te Anau a gorgeous little touristy town amongst stunning weather, a backdrop of mountains still capped with snow and then ended up with tents pitched at the Great Lakes Motor Camp. Another game of Frisbee and another loss to Garteh meant he had to do a shot of the awful Tequila I had been given as a going away present.

After a quick refreshing pint and a round of disastrous mini golf (the back 9 killed me!) I decided to book a cruise along the lake to the glow worm caves. The booking agent happened to be a guy from my year at high school which was a little freakish. At first I was a little unsure weather I wanted to folk out $50 for the cruise, but my doubts were put to rest once we were gliding down the perfectly still lake. The cruise rounded a bend in the lake then NZs second largest lake unfolded before us. We took a slight detour down one arm of the lake to a cluster of stunning little lush islands, with loads of secluded little beaches dotted with private yatchs and very calm fresh mirrored water.

Before long we reached the site of the glow worm caves, where we had to hike along purpose built bridges and under and through a small cave system that opened up towards the back. The path was lit with soft lighting that created a very chilled ambiance and below our feet very clear cold water worked its way through the limestone, passing over waterfalls, whirlpools and tight corners. I managed to sneak in a couple of cheeky photos by hanging around the back of the group but none did the place any justice. At the back of the walk we hopped into a small dingy that the guide pulled along using a chain on the cave roof. Here there were no lights and the cave opened up to reveal the glow worms shimmering like stars in the night. It was very peaceful here as there were no lights and no sound and you felt like you were on your own. We came so close to sections of the cave that I could actually see the glowworms and the strands of spiderweb like threads used to catch prey. We returned to the path and then walked back along the walkway and back to the boat. The cruise back in the afternoon sun was another chance to lean back and chill out.

Later that night we ended up in Top Bar' above another bar that was closed it was pretty busy in here considering and we knocked back quite a few Gins, before running amok a little on our way back to the campsite to cook up a mid night snack of two minute noodles. Gareth was well and truly off his head!
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