Nov. 9, 2012 We arrived in Te Anau (tee ahn ow) at 7pm. All we really had time to do was go to dinner at a most wonderful Chinese restaurant where I amazed G with my dexterity with chopsticks. Thanks to eating sushi with Jessie, I, at times, am rather adept at it. Anyway, we ate and then went to bed.
The next day G and I set about organizing our check list here. So much to do and so much is weather dependent. We ran into our friend Lois who told us clouds and rain were forecast for the today and tomorrow. Oh, well! The really good thing is you can’t trust a negative weather prediction—it may or may not happen. Unfortunately, that is also true for a positive prediction. Off we went to the I site which also happens to be in cahoots with one of the sightseeing agencies we will use. There are several must do’s here—Milford Sound, the Kepler track, Doubtful Sound, Routeburn track, and the Milford track. Good weather is need for the trip to Milford Sound as, according to the locals, the journey is what it is about, not the destination. With the help of the information clerk, we booked a day nature cruise to Milford Sound which includes the Routeburn (root burn) track, an overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound, and a private hike for the Milford track . We will do the Kepler (keep ler) on our own.
I have discovered that G and I do much better if we can plan things out and have the p’s and q’s in place before we show up at a place. I thought I was different and could deal with ambiguity. A lot of the youth just show up in town, then book lodging and then plan where to go and what to do. Somehow as we have aged we have lost that spontaneity and really function much better in a structured environment. G is really happy knowing we have a place to stay and planned activities to do!
Nov.11, 2012 Today, we did part of another Great Walk, the Kepler. You can access it by walking around Lake Te Anau for an hour and then walking across the control gates for the lake.
I guess I should mention that this lake and Lake Manapouri are part of the hydroelectric plant. The plant was opposed by the people in the area because they feared damage to the environment and the lakes. The agreement reached was that water could be released depending on the water level, but once released, more water could not be released for up to 20 days or more. Our walk took us not only around the Lake Te Anau but also by the local wildlife centre. Here there are large, outside cages with keas, wood pigeons, and takehes. The takahes are endangered and had a chick this year. However, according to a chalkboard notice, Baby Sally had demised. It was reported that the birds had been nervous yesterday due to a hawk circling the area and it is surmised that it took the chick. How sad!
Our portion of the Kepler track was another walk through the woods with breaks in it to view Lake Te Anau.
The trees were generally some type of beech. There was moss but not nearly to the extent that we had seen on our Roberts Point hike at Franz Josef.
G and I could feel the southwesterly wind pick up and on our return trip, rain drops kept spitting at us. So far there has not been a downpour.