the first one i decided on was doubtful sound as it's a fairly involved effort. it's very remote, and thus takes a whole day to visit. that way when i finish up at milford sound i can hit the road again.
so the first place i had to go was pearl harbour on lake manapouri. now i may have a brain the size of a peanut, but even i think it's both weird and kinda funny that there's a place called pearl harbour in new zealand, and it's on a lake no less!
so i decided to take this silly picture just like a human tourist might take. see its funny because i'm eating pearl harbour cause you know it's all... uh... you know come to think of it why would anyone think that's funny?!?
despite the name, pearl harbour is port to fairly non-threatening vessels. on one of which i'd be making my trip across the lake.
like i said it's involved to get to doubtful sound. the only way that you can get there with modern conveniences is by crossing lake manapouri than take the only "pass" (greenbelt knows what i'm talking about ;p ) to get to the sound. this part of the trip takes over 2 hours that alone when you than set out to explore doubtful itself.
i was pretty primed about the day!exciting me even more was my first wild life spotting of the day. a rainbow trout underneath all the boats... as i watched i was amazed to see nearly 10 of them. all full grown and swimming this close to shore... man this was going to be a good trip i could just tell!!!
fortunately for me when it came time to board i'm both small, quick, and agile. though i'd love to "grow up" sometimes being stuck in a juvenile tyrannosaur body build has it's perks!
i was onboard the boat pronto, and i got a killer seat up on the roof.
yeah they let you ride these things on top!!!
see! already my prophecy of an awesome trip was coming true!
than we were off!
leaving pearl harbour behind i was curious to see what the rest of lake manapouri would be like...
though i've seen mountains before i've never seen them from a boat before. it's a combination i could get used to!
after over an hour of the amazingness we finally drew close to the end of the lake we were aiming for.
so the reason the pass to doubtful was built in the first place was to make electricity. this lake is elevated over sea level, but totally trapped with few run off outlets. so some clever person thought if they bored a hole through a mountain out to sea they could use that water drainage to make electricity.
so here decades later stands the manapouri generation station.
it's a pretty high tech and fancy looking facility. that line of floating white pylons are a debris screening wall to keep the tunnels through the mountain clear of junk.
the only problem with being one of the first people onto the boat i was also one of the last off it.
we all proceeded to the manapouri interpretive centre.
it was okay. normally i'm pretty primed by such places, but this one wasn't really worth writing home about. it had a nice kea statue which alerted me to watch out for them. i DID see one briefly while on the bus ride, but i didn't manage to snap a photo (which is why i mention it now... nothing to show for it).
oh well i guess part of the reason it's a meh centre is that you only spend a few minutes there. just as i was halfway checking out the displays we had to board the bus for our trip to doubtful sound.
the drive was almost 40 minutes long, and was quite exciting as the road the bus was on was narrow, steep, and windy. as we climbed to the top of the pass we took a quick stop to check out this high elevation environment.
i immediately fell in love with the mountain moss and ferns.
the passing clouds (though they sure look like fog up close!) added a tinge of mystery to the area. i could imagine this was what the world of my ancestors must have looked like millions of years ago.
it was truly a marvelous place. untouched or harmed by humans, for the most part minus the road.
after this quick explore stop it was time to make our descent to the sound. re-boarding the bus i made a fun discovery. the holes that normal buses have on their behinds were little punched out kiwis on this bus. COOL!
as we made our descent to the other side of the mountains through the fog... er i mean clouds we caught our first glimpse of the sound...
pulling up to the small tourism settlement we hopped off the bus, and made our way to the new boat...
our destination: doubtful sound