Sunday, September 7, 2014

south island

 Lord of the rings .. stunning cinematography
caused me to do make a trip to New Zealand particularly to South Island. Stunning natural beauty shown in the movie as well as picturesque fiord ( long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion. ) In particularly Milford sound pictures where stunning huge rocks submerged in water. No wonder famous poet Rudyard Kipling considered it as a eighth wonder
We left wellington and boarded a ship along with our camper van using inter-islander cruise. Loading van to ship itself was a great experience. Huge chains, ropes make you wonder how much progress these people have done. Once we parked our car we went upstairs to get great view, journey was short and we reached other side in 3 hours. Day was cloudy but watching surrounding mountains, rain was fun.
After moving to Piston we started southward journey towards Grey Mouth on highway 6. Most of our route was highway 6 since that was the only route that goes through to south of island. On the way, I wanted to see Nelson lake but it was little south side and considering average distance of daily 350 km, it didn't look feasible.  We stayed at South Beach Motel: 318 Main South Road. There was swimming pool so adwait, sachin and myself had some fun.

Next day we have to go to Haast which was 300km away and in between we want to see Fox Glacier. It is located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park. The glacier was later named after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria by the German explorer, Julius von Haast in 1865. it exhibits a cyclic pattern of advance and retreat, driven by differences between the volume of meltwater at the foot of the glacier and volume of snowfall feeding the névé (fresh snow compacting to ice at glacier). It was my first journey to Glacier so was very excited to go there. We have walked around Waiho river to reach Glacier. It was around 2 km walk but I got disappointed to see small size of glacier from below. May be it must be much bigger at top. We can see many helicaptor rides going towards glacier so that assumption must be true.  After visiting glacier, we moved nearest town called Haast.
Night at Haast was most beautiful considering nice clear mountain weather and at night I can see clearly milky way galaxy.I also woke up Adwait to see that galaxy. But taking picture didn't work considering cold and our limited knowledge of digital photography.

 Next day we planned to pass through Haast pass, one of three pass which are mountain pass in south Alphs. Considering dangerous ghats in India, comparatively this was easy.But obviously passing through greenery had great effect on mind. Route passes through Mount Aspiring National Park. So we covered two national park during our south island visit.
Haast pass name after a 19th-century explorer Haast  who was also geologist.

We stayed at Te Anau. our last south side stop. By this time we cover 1100km distance from Auckland! On they way we visited small lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and big town Queenstown. We did our grocery and aheaded toward small town of Te Anau.

Our next and final destination was Milfold sound. The reason for our whole trip was Milford sound.
But to our dismay, road was closed to Milford because of heavy snow :(. I felt really bad considering that was pinnacle of trip to newzealand but heavy rain through out our journey made me worried. Anyway we have to plan some alternate arrangement so for one night we planned cruise to doubtful sound - large natural fiord and other around Te Anau.

In Te Anau stay,  we planned trip to Glowworm caves. Glowworm caves was very different experience. First we travelled to mountains using cruise to western shores of Lake Te Anau and later through guided boat. First there is guide about 12000 old caves made by river and through limestone passages causing sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall.  By boat we went to darker section of caves to ghetto of Glowworm. They produce glitter display which can only match to dark night clear sky.

Trip to Doubtful sound was coach trip , Manapori lake, coach and then cruise to Doubtful Sound.  


Returning back we stayed near Queenstown/Franton since we had next day early morning flight back to Melbourne. We cover 300 km around in 3 hours. On 9th morning we return our car and headed back to Australia with happy mindset.

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