Doubtful Sound and Owaka

Trip Start Nov 16, 2005
Trip End Apr 11, 2006

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Tues 7th Feb.... trip on Doubtful Sound

We got up early and headed off to catch the boat on Lake Manapouri. The cost of the day trip was NZ$215 each, booked with Real Journeys - well worth it. It was a fine morning but not sunny - however, it was not raining so that was good news. There were quite a few people on the boat - about 50 in total - all nationalities including some very aggresive Russians! We met a very nice couple from Winchester - they play at Royal Winchester GC so I have made a date to have a game with them during the Summer!! I digress - anyway, the boat trip took 30 minutes across the lake - it was very calm and tranquil. When we got on the coach the other side we were taken to see the hydro-electric power station (underground)- it took 10 years to build and is amazing - this supplies most of the power for the south island. After that we went over the Wilmot Pass to catch the ferry to Doubtful Sound - it leaves from Deep Cove Wharf and passes Lady Alice Falls on the way out to the Sound. When we reached the Sound we say fur seals basking on the rocks - they were lovely. The weather was good all the time we were on the outward trip but on the way back it started to drizzle and by the time we got back it had become cold and was raining quite steadily - however, we were lucky that we had the trip out in fine weather - that's what I mean by being at the mercy of the weather! By the way, Capt. Cook discovered Doubtful Sound, and Lord of the Rings was filmed on the Keplar Track - some very useless info!

The drive from Manapouri to Owaka, which was our stop for the night, was pretty uneventful - we did see some more fur seals, but much closer to us and great for pics. We had supper in a place called Gore - very good food. We were unable to get into the Falls BBH we had chosen in the Catlins but the lady very kindly asked her mother to put us up in her house - another great result - she was really kind to us - made us a cup of tea when we arrived and is a lovely lady.

We decided to go and see the yellow-eyed penguins which come out of the sea as the light fades - we were not the only ornithologists there with zoom lens etc the colony is supposed to have 10 of these penguins but, only one decided to grace us with his company! What a shame and it was really windy and cold to be standing around waiting for the others to come out of the sea - maybe, they sneaked out on shore at another spot and wer having a good laugh at all of us waiting in vain! This is also the area for the blue penguins but they were conspicuous by their absence also! At least we had a very comfy bed to go back to.

As time was against us we did not get to Invercargill or do the South coast Scenic Drive - we came across the middle through farmland via Lumsden, Gore, Clinton and Balclutha and turned south to Owaka.
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