Kim's Sabbatical travel blog

Wanaka was such an amazing little place that I spent an extra day there just chilling out doing nothing - sat at a cafe at the lake drinking coffee, eating scrummy food absorbing as much of the scenery as I could. There was an Austrian guy - Ralf - doing much the same as me and we figured out that our plans for the next 4 days were pretty much the same. He had a car so invited me to join him going to Queenstown and then to the Doubtful Sound (which is pretty damned remote)!

The trip to Queenstown was pretty quick but a highlight was stopping in a tiny little town (if you can call it that) called Arrowtown. The town was nestled in the most spectacular sight of Autumn leaves I think I've seen in 20 years. Red, Golden, Yellow, Green and just a mass of them....simply beautiful. We had a little lunch in the sun then carried on to Queenstown - the hub of andrenalin pumping activity. We couldn't find a place to stay (well with very little effort put in) so decided to carry directly on to Te Anau, a little town close to where we were to catch our boat for Doubtful. It landed up being a long day so by the time we arrived I was absolutely shattered....I was dead asleep in a lovely little hostel by 10pm!

The trip to Doubtful Sound was an overnight cruise through the fjord and out to the Tasman sea then back again. The start of the trip was at Manapouri Lake; a 50min boat ride across the water took us to a bus to cross the Wilmot Pass. I can't begin to describe how wild and remote this place is; I know some of you have been there and know what I mean.

(back in queenstown now so will carry on later - need to go book my canyon swing and river surfing for last day before the journey home begins.....feel a little miserable so qoing to end it on a high - literally)!!

Back now (after doing a canyon dive and swing and surfed a raging river on a body-board).

The trip to Doubtful sounds was one of the most tranquil parts of my holiday. The sheer size and beauty of this remote wilderness is awe-inspiring. It's really hard to describe the 2 days as it was all about absorbing life in it's natural form and seeing the world in almost exactly the same state it was in thousands of years ago. There was again torrential rain for the two days but unlike in other areas, the rain here added an extra beauty dimension as all the hundreds of waterfalls were flowing with incredible force. The boat that we were on had the ability to go nose first towards the cliff so closely that we got showered on by a huge waterfall - it was freezing but it felt so good!

For a short while the boat switched all it's power off and everyone was told to not move or talk for 5 minutes.....the sound of silence roared in my ears like I've never heard before. Birds singing, falling rain and the sound of waterfalls plummeting was all that was heard - 5 minutes of oure peacefulness that I'll probably not have for another 5 years!

Some things can be described in detail but this trip was more of a feeling than a "doing" and hopefully I'll remember it without the words in this journal....I'll do it such injustice trying to describe how spectacular this place was!

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