We spent 3 lovely nights in Te Anau and truly rested. Mike and I spent our first night with his Aunt Val and Uncle John who graciously shared their gorgeous bach with us and enjoyed getting to know them a bit more (Mike was able to head out for an early morning Kayak and we both also enjoyed Val and John’s cooking). They have been coming to the area for respite for a few years, and we can see why. The place is a gem!
Te Anau is a quaint town, situated on the edge of the Fjordlands National Park. The town has some fabulous food. We found an excellent Italian restaurant where we ordered some authentic margarita pizza and the best gelato I’ve ever eaten, and were able to walk easily from Val and Johns place.
During our stay we did a boat tour of the Milford Sound (which is actually a Fjord, that has been carved through the mountains by glaciers). It’s about 2 hours from Te Anau, and actually we nearly missed the tour due to lack of time watching.
The Milford Sound area stands out for me…I first saw it during the opening scene of a snowboarding film a few years back that has stuck in my mind as a pretty iconic place to visit in New Zealand. The nature encounter tour we took was 2.5 hours and included a stop into an underwater observatory where we got to see “black coral” which is in fact ironically…white. The strangest thing, my camera showed me true colours through the glass when we were underwater, and when I uploaded them they were very unbalanced and were aqua. It’s incredible that my eyes adjusted to show me what it thought was natural light…
Crazy stuff. This is what I’m talking about… thankfully I was able to colour balance the image manually on my computer.
We paid an extra (whopping) 3$ for a pre packed lunch and found we were given ample (very tasty) packs with a lot of variety. I don’t even think you could buy 1/3rd of the items for that price. The slight upgrade was definitely worth the price, if you take the 12.00 noon tour with this company.
You’ll likely see plenty of waterfall and wildlife on the tour…many people are encouraged to get out on the deck and get wet!
We slept very well here, and I quite happily enjoyed the few days I didn’t have to roll in and out of bed from our tent.
If you have the opportunity to check out the Fjordlands, be sure to also bring some sand fly spray. We found an organic spray that was really good at keeping the flies off us, and sooth the itch that came from the ones who managed to get a taste of us earlier. This is the brand we bought and would definitely recommend (picked it up in a local super market).
We’re just back in Palmerston North…it’s been an epic month long journey of camping and while we have seen so so so much of the country – there is still much more to experience. I’m hoping next time we can do a tour as a family, and I’m a bit more mobile. My beach ball belly has been an unusual and tricky addition which has slowed us down more than we both had anticipated.
Part of the reasoning behind this journey was to help pick out areas that we’d like to permanently settle. We covered a lot of ground and saw plenty of great places we could easily live. The next 6 months will bring tonnes of change, and when we’re ready to make a permanent move we’re now more prepared by what each community offers and the kind of lifestyle we’d like to lead.
I’ll write some more about road tripping whilst 7.5 months pregnant…and show you what we saw (some adorable little birds!) on the East Coast soon.