We definitely kept the best ’til last. The Fjordlands are an incredible area with a striking combination of tropical rainforests, snow-capped mountains and island-dotted bays. Most tourists go to the more popular Milford Sound but, after soliciting advice from numerous locals, we opted for the quieter Doubtful Sound. Originally named Doubtful Harbour, it got its unusual name when cartographers misunderstood Captain Cook’s handwriting on a map to mean that’s what he had named the harbour, rather than noting his concerns about its suitability for use as a port of anchor.
Can you see the precarious log bridge over the creek? Before the construction of the road leading to Doubtful Sound, intrepid travellers had to walk for over a week just to reach it. The views were amazing, but man that is dedication.
A trio of huge waterfalls, one of which is permanent (that is, fed by a lake) and the others appear only when the snow begins to melt.
Amazingly, the trees grow on sheer rock faces. They begin growing in the moss and, since there is no soil, they only stay upright by intertwining their roots with surrounding trees.
A legal loophole allowed the construction of this fishing hut in the otherwise untouched world heritage area.
A seal colony at the entrance to the sound. From here, the closest land mass is Tasmania.
A playful pod of dolphins spotted near the boat.
The guide books and tour guides kept pimping this underground power station as a highlight of the trip. I tried to think charitable thoughts about how it must be better than it sounds.
But it wasn’t.
I mean, hooray for the engineering feat and everything, but I gotta say the most impressive thing about it was the coach driver doing a three- (or maybe twenty-) point turn in a tunnel. Why would you want to be stuck underground when above ground is THIS:
Next up: Christchurch