Exploring the beauty of a Fjord...I thought that this was only possible in Norway but in fact, you can explore the surprising Fjordland in southwestern New Zealand! We went to the Doubtful Sound and despite it's name, there's no doubt that it's one of the most amazing places I've ever seen.
The exploration of the southern scenic Road 99 came to it’s end (see previous location) but a new fantastic adventure was to begin in Fjordland. We arrived in the little city of Te Anau located on it’s eponymous lake and main city of the Fjordland. Te Anau is already a very beautiful place and after some hours travelling, we enjoyed a long walk along the lake just before sunset.
Te Anau is the departure point for the two main fjord/sound exploration, the Milford Sound and the Doubtful Sound. Of course, Fjordland is a high-rated tourist spot that you can visit (but there are more visitors during the summer (December/January), and very few in winter, (July/August). Some friends advised us to visit the famous Milford Sound. But after talking with some local people, they convinced us to visit the Doubtful Sound instead, which seemed more spectacular than the Milford Sound. From Te Anau, the Milford Sound can be reached only by car, along a very famous scenic road but we already had some days of driving behind us and we didn’t want to spend some more hours driving. On the opposite, to visit the Doubtful Sound, you don’t need to drive a lot as the departure for the cruise is located in Manapouri, only a few miles from Te Anau.
So, we took a boat trip to the Doubtful Sound. The departure was set at 7:00 am, and the weather was absolutely beautiful with a clear blue sky and a wonderful soft light. We were lucky for this, as it’s a very wet and rainy area, but apparently the winter season is the best time to enjoy great weather here and complemented by fantastic colors. The first part of the cruise was on Manapouri Lake to reach the spectacular Te Anau Power station. The little visit inside the Power Station was interesting but it wasn’t the main goal of our day.
After this little visit, we took a bus to reach “Deep Cove”, the starting point of the “Doubtful Sound”, and the real cruise could finally begin! The sun was at it’s best, the sky had a deep blue color but don’t think the temperature was ok, as it was between 0° and 5°C! So we were freezing outside on the deck, but nobody wanted to go inside the boat as what we saw was simply stunning!!
Everybody on the boat couldn’t stop to wonder and stare at these amazing landscapes made of water and mountains. It’s really the same kind of landscape of what you can imagine of the Norwegian fjords, but we were exactly on the opposite side of the world! The Doubtful Sound makes you doubt about the name of this country, is it Norway or New Zealand? Or Norwealand???
A little bit history about the name, “Doubtful Sound” : when James Cook discovered the whole southwest coast of New Zealand during his first travel in 1770, he doubted that this deep “entrance” in the coast could be explored further without any danger and went away, calling the place a “Doubtful Sound”…
Despite the cold, the mood during this 3-hour cruise on the Sound was great and everybody was in a kind of euphoric state, as if the beauty of this impressive nature had a chemical effect on our brains and spread happiness and joy all around! During all the way back, on the sound, in the bus, and on Manapouri lake, everybody was very tired but so happy to have seen such a beauty! The Doubtful Sound is simply magical!
To be continued….