The Fiordland Experience

Trip Start Jan 09, 2008
Trip End May 20, 2008

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Friday, February 8, 2008

After recovering from all the excitement of the engagement, we continued exploring the wonders of the Fiordland National Park:
We did a half day track to Key Summit which is a part of the famous Routburn track. Unfortunately there weren't places left in the huts of the Routburn, so we just had a small sample of it. The view was amazing and worth the climb!
The next day, we had it to the Kepler track (3 days), which is also a famous track in the area, but shows different sceneries of the park. We left Dardasaba at the finish line and hitch hiked to the start point with a nice "Kiwi" (NZ) family. Right from the start, we met a lot of Israelis - 3 of them were from our hostel and 2 more guys. After a hard climb in the bush, great lunch (salami&tuna sandwiches) and stunning view at the top, we arrived to the first hut and found out that there are 7 more Israelis.
When we woke up from a good night sleep, we discovered that we are in the middle of a cloud. We couldn't see anything and it was very depressing, because this is suppose to be the best day of the track. In addition, it was so cold, but our tough female ranger forbidden us to light the fire and did everything she could to make us leave the hut (Opened the windows, banged with a hammer on the Flore, picked up the chairs...). Finally, at about 11:00, we surrendered and left the hut to the freezing air outside. After an hour and a half walk, the sky started clearing a bit and when we climbed mount Luxmor (about 1400 m), it cleared enough so we could see the panoramic view of the area (Te Anau & Manapuri). From that point on, the weather was on our side, and the sights were spectacular! The battle over the best places to sleep in the next hut between the Israelis, started right after the lunch break (again, salami&tuna sandwiches).We won.
The following day was a bit boring - walking in the bush... beside a little swim in Lake Manapuri (Yaniv).
The light at the end of the tunnel was the great room we booked: A private "zimmer" that looks upon Lake Manapuri. The chicken-burger and fries that we ordered was a perfect addition and everything in a reasonable price.
Without resting too much, we woke up early to go kayaking in the wild and unique Doubtful sound. This was an expansive and intimate experience (6 people's group, 5 Israelis, 2 groups). We started energetic in calm water, expecting to see marine wild animals. We finished (after 4-5 hours of kayaking) exhausted in rough water, without seeing anything but Paradise Ducks and sand-flies. Of course that the other group saw 8 Dolphins, 1 Penguin and 1 Seal, but no ducks...
Today, we started traveling south through the southern scenic route from Manapuri to Tuatapere, where we are now. On the way, we stopped at Clifden caves - 300 meters of limestone cave. We thought it would be piece of cake after we successfully survived Beit-Guvrin caves. After we got in we were surprised to find out that the walk in the cave includes crawling and passing through pools of water, but it was too late by then. At least we got to see some more lovely glowing worms!
Tomorrow we leave for the Hump Ridge track in the southern part of the Fiordland National Park.
"Ein menucha layagea..."

* Due to technical problems - we'll upload our pics later on :)
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