Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NZ/Aus Days 28-30: Marlborough Sound

The view from our cabin's porch

Mitre Peak with an endangered
white heron standing guard
After our relaxing morning at Cloud 9, we packed up again and finished our drive back to the western side of the country (I can't wait to see our map of our driving route). Craig found us a great spot outside of Manapouri with views of the lake and mountains behind. We had our own little cabin, complete with a wood stove, sink, and private deck. It would prove to be a relaxing spot and the perfect launching point for our next day's adventure into Milford Sound.

We hadn't minded the rain too much on our trip so far, but this was a day when we needed the clouds to lift. The two hour drive to the sound and the following boat trip boasted some of the most stunning views in the country, and we wanted to get to see them! We were hopeful when we were treated to a lovely sunrise as we started our drive.

A striking difference between our mountains back home and those in New Zealand, particularly towards Milford Sound, is just how steep and narrow the valleys are. That said, there are also a few spots that had more than a passing similarity to home.

Along the drive we plotted where we would stop on the return trip, there was no time for stopping as we had learned to expect a deluge of construction zones on NZ roads and we had a boat to catch.

We arrived at the jetty with only a few minutes to spare and quickly jumped aboard our little boat as the motor turned over and found seats outside. Baby peered curiously from the carrier and, perhaps picking up on our excitement, didn't cry. She stayed awake long enough to see the mountainous views unfold before us at the mouth of the sound and watch the water pour down multiple waterfalls.

The next two hours were beautiful. Our pictures don't do the scenery justice. Being out on the water with forested hills hugging tightly to either side of you was oddly comforting. The degree of steepness of this saddle was a definite highlight, as was the waterfall at its lowest point. We even got an Iguazu/Niagara'esque view from directly underneath!

After the tour, we lingered a bit longer, eating our lunch looking out at the iconic Mitre Peak. Then, with time on our hands now, enjoyed a more leisurely drive back to Manapouri with the opportunity to pull-out at a few of the lovely viewspoints we saw on our way in.

Our adventure in our cabin was capped off with us running out of propane for our gas burners while the wonderful owners were away for the night (their first night off since November). We felt like true pioneers cooking our dinner and heating water for our tea on the wood stove.

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