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Entries about te anau

Multiple Perspectives on Te Anau

Thursday 12th November 2015

sunny 16 °C

Sadly it was our last day in Fiordland today and with the help of our host we had already decided to make the most of it. She was very helpful when we went to check out and arranged to have our bags taken up the the Real Journeys office later in the afternoon while we were on another boat trip. Once this was all sorted we made our way to the offices of Takitimu Tiki Tours and met Heath our guide/ driver for the morning. He initially showed us round the town and the edge of the lake and explained a bit of the history. We then went to a lookout from where we could not only see the whole of the town, but also the lake and the mountains beyond.

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He is a really lovely friendly guy and as well as talking about the history and geology of the area he also spoke about his family, his children and his English wife. Once we had finished admiring the view at the lookout we went to the river, the same one we had got on the day before with Luxmore boats but much further up near the dam.

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The water was a real emerald green but very clear and because it was shallower at the waters edge than it had been further downstream you could really appreciate the colours. We looked for trout, but there didn't seem to be many in that spot this morning. We then walked for a fairly short distance through the beach forest, which was at the end of a very heavy flowering year and so there was lots of pollen about.

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Once we had finished, Heath very kindly walked back and got the van. Whilst we were waiting I was listening to the sound of some of the beach trees creaking in the wind. Nigel then saw some discarded fishing line and as we were concerned about this hurting the wild life we wound it all back up and gave it the Heath once he arrived. We then made the fairly short journey back to the town. One of the crew on the Doubtful Sound trip had told us about a film that had been shot from a helicopter over the Fiordland National Park and that this could be viewed in a cinema in Te Anau. It turned out that Heath's uncle was the primary pilot and the person whose idea the film was, and so Heath played a short trailer of the film in the van.

We had time to go and have some lunch at the delicious if not so deliciously named Sandfly Cafe. We then went to watch the film the cinema specially built by the guy that made the film. It made stunning viewing and really gave a sense that you were up in a helicopter. It was so impressive that we bought a copy so that we could watch it again once we were back at home. It was then only a short walk to the lake from where we were catching the boat that would take us to the glowworm caves. The journey across the lake gave us another perspective on Te Anau and also up one of the fiords that leads off the main lake.

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The boat was pretty full and so once we arrived at the caves we were split into four groups and while some went straight into the caves the rest of had to wait a short while. We were in the second group and as soon as we entered the caves we could hear the loud sound of rushing water. As we continued along the raised metal walkway we were along side a fast flowing underground stream and several quite spectacular underground waterfalls. We then reached the small landing stage were we got on board a small boat and continued a little further along the river. It was here that we saw most of the glowworms. There weren't as many as we had seen in Waitomo and the experience wasn't as special but the cave itself was probably one of the most dramatic I had ever been in. We then went back into the visitor centre where we were given a cup of tea and had a short presentation on glowworms by our guide.

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Before long we were back on the boat and making our way back to Te Anau. Much to my relief our bags were waiting for us and we had just enough time to go and have a coffee before we needed to catch our bus. It was very full and we were quite lucky to be able to get seats together. It was a couple of hours back to Queenstown, and although there was a film showing our seats were too far back to see it, so Nigel listened to his music while I read my book with one eye on the scenery beyond the coach.

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It was about 7:30pm by the time we got back to Queenstown so it was quite a relief that we knew where to go, and our way around the hostel. So we just got some food and then settled in to watch the film The Fastest Indian (about a New Zealand motorcycle fanatic and starring Anthony Hopkins) that we hadn't been able to see properly on the bus.

Posted by Gill's Travels 00:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains trees queenstown rivers new_zealand te_anau Comments (0)

"A Pinch of Adrenalin and a Heap of Natural Beauty"

Wednesday 11th November 2015

sunny 18 °C

After a couple of busy days on Doubtful Sound we were happy to have a reasonably quiet day today. We had arranged to go on a speed boat trip up the Upper Waiau River which was advertised as "a pinch of adrenalin and a heap of natural beauty" which sounded just our cup of tea. We were picked up in a minibus from outside our accommodation. We found out that it was just going to be the two of us so we knew the whole trip would revolve around what we were wanting from it which is always nice. It was only a short drive to where the boat was waiting for us on Queens Beach, so named because the road to it was laid in anticipation of a visit by the Queen Mother. There was no need to get our feet wet as we could climb aboard while it was still on the trailer and it was launched once we were all comfortably seated.

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Mark our driver gave us a quick safety briefing and showed us how he would signal if we needed to hold on because he was going to put the boat into a spin. The river wasn't very deep but because of rocks and other debris in the water there was quite a lot of movement and a bit of white water. We were shown some of the local flora

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and Mark also pointed out a few of the locations on the river that Peter Jackson used for the filming of Lord of the Rings. We went up the river as far as the edge of Lake Manapouri that we had crossed yesterday on our way back from the Sound. It gave us a very different perspective on the Fiordland scenery.

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On our way back we did a couple more quite gentle spins which was good fun and Mark also stopped the boat for a while so we could look for trout. We saw quite a few and I was surprised as to how large they were, certainly more than a meal for one. Once we were back on dry land, we paid for the trip and were then taken back to our motel.

We had decided to gave a quiet afternoon and so we walked into town and got something to eat. We also packaged up some of the presents we had bought for family back home and posted them by air mail so that they should arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.

Posted by Gill's Travels 00:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged boats rivers new_zealand te_anau Comments (0)

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