02.03.2017 - 07.03.2017 16 °C
Today we left Queenstown to travel via Te Anau to Manapouri and a cruise across this glacial lake to Wilmott Pass Manapouri is the place New Zealander's first recognised the importance the greater environment has for the country as a whole. It is now the largest hydroelectric power station in New Zealand 176 metres below lake level. The turbines provide an average annual output of 4800 GW. Per hour with up to 510 cubic metres of water per second surging through the pipes and down the tunnel into Doubtful Sound. The Wilmott Pass road was New Zealand's most expensive road and took two years to climb up and over the 671 metres high Pass to Doutful Sound. It is 16km long and now allows visitors to access this incredible location and see amazing moss gardens, towering waterfalls and simply incredible scenic vistas. We were fortunate enough to experience the Doubtful Sound, named Doubtful Harbour by Captain James Cook in 1770 because he feared he would not be able to sail the Endeavour back out, he resisted entering the inlet and instead confined round the island. Our ship the Fiordland Navigator is about the same size as Endeavour but a little better equipped!
With little or no soil on the mountains, trees interlock their roots together to cling to the sheer rock wall, relying on moss and lichen for nutrients This, coupled with large amounts of rain and snow delivering up to seven metres worth of water from the heavens makes this one of the wettest places on earth and often causes 'tree Avalanches' a common occurrence. After a landslide lichen, moss and other shrubs quickly cover the dirt and rock This lays the groundwork for the regeneration of the forest and the renewal of life through the land.
We were lucky enough to see some New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks and bottle nosed dolphins leaping through the air.
An unforgettable experience and now we get to sleep on board over night and I wonder what the morning brings?.....