Doubtful Sound and Lake Manapouri - New Zealand

Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Lake Manapouri Campsite

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We arrived at Lake Manapouri late in the afternoon after driving 166km from Queenstown. The scenery along the route we have taken just keeps getting better and better. And as the weather is so nice and sunny you can see for miles into the distance. The landscape is simply stunning.

We checked into a family run campsite which had all the mod-cons and had a stroll on the shores watching the sunset over Lake Manapouri. Manapouri only has a small population of 200. Lake Manapouri is one of the largest in New Zealand and has 33 islands dotted within it. The lake lies within the Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site.

The next day we took a boat tour across Lake Manapouri where we arrived on the other side and then took a bus across Wilmot Pass. The Wilmot Pass is a 671 m high road which connects Doubtful Sounds to the valley of the West Arm of Lake Manapouri. The pass is named after E. H. Wilmot, a former surveyor-general of New Zealand, who had noted it while surveying the area in 1897. It lies between Mount Wilmot and Mount Mainwaring. This road was high up in the mountains and had scarily steep slopes. The road was just a dirt track so the bus took its time negotiating the corners.

Once we arrived we took a boat across the Doubtful Sounds. The reason for the 'doubtful' name is because when Captain Cook first discovered this deep cove out from his boat in the Tasman Sea he was doubtful’ that his boat would be able to leave the sound as the steep mountains sheltered the waters from any winds.

The captain halfway along the journey shut the engines for 10 minutes so there was no noise at all. We just floated along listening to the peaceful sound of water trickling down the mountains. The scenery was stunning.

After our boat journey across Doubtful Sound we hopped back on the back and took a visit to the Lake Manapouri hydro electricity plant. The power plant located 200m deep within the mountains was constructed in the 1960s. The plant collects water from the lake and sends it deep through pipes turning turbines and then spits the water out near Doubtful Sound 10km away.

K jezeru Manapouri jsme prijeli po 166 km stravenych v aute. Cesta opet vedla nadhernou prirodou a a stala za podivani, parkrat jsme museli zastavit, abychom si to vyfotili.

Jezero Manapouri, kde se nachazi stejnojmena vesnicka slouzi jako vychozi pristav na vylety lodi do Doubtful Sound, ktery jsme meli  v planu na druhy den. Doubtful Sound je spolu s Milford Sound povazovan za nejkrasnejsi misto Noveho Zelandu a za jedno z nejkrasnejsich mist na sevete. Tezko rict jestli je opravdu nejkrasnejsim mistem, jelikoz Novy Zeland jich ma opravdu mnoho. Je to nejznamejsi novezelandsky fjord, ktery se nachazi na jihozapade jizniho ostrova v Narodnim Parku Fiordland.

Jedinou cestou jak se dostat k Doubtful Sound je si zaplatit vylet pres jednu z agentru, ktere jsou ve meste Te Anau, i kdyz to rozhodne neni levna zalezitost opravdu to stoji za to. Nejprve jsme jeli lodi zhruba 50 minut po jezeru Manapouri k mistni voni elekrarne, ktera byla postavena v roce 70. letech  19. stoleti a slouzi jako hlavni zdroj elektriky pro velkou cast jizniho ostrova. Pote jsme presedli na autobus, ktery nas vezl dalsich 22 km pres Wilmot Pass a pote uz jsme nasedli na posledni lod, kterou jsme absolovovali projizdku po Doubtful Sound. Opet se nam naskytl neuveritelny pohled na cele okoli a my jsme nestacili fotit.

Take jsme meli velke stesti s pocasim, jelikoz Fiordland je znamy tim, ze zde 320 dni v roce prsi a my jsme meli naprosty opak, svitilo na nas celou dobu slunicko a my jsme si mohli uzivat nadherny vyhled na cely fjord z paluby lodi.
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