Saturday 11 May 2024

This part of Aotearoa is so beautiful!

 Queenstown: A tourist hub but too busy for us, so all we did was:

  • chatted to a couple (Catherine and Rob) at the holiday park who were from up in the Bay of Plenty 
    • they live separately and I think that is incredibly sensible of Catherine... Do you agree, my friend? Not you, Rob!
    • Catherine has been travelling around the South Island on her own and Rob had flown down to join her for a few days. I am so admiring of her courage - not least in letting Rob join her...
  • travelled in from Frankton on the watertaxi
  • had a falafel Fergburger and fries on the waterfront
  • caught the watertaxi back to Frankton
  • found there were a couple of leaks around the two areas where the awning is connected to the body of the mh. So I rang a guy I had suggested to someone on fb who was looking for an analysis of water damage in their caravan - timely, eh?
    • Luke from PeakRV suggested that we put wide waterproof tape across the gap between the top of the awning and the body of the mh, and then come and see him after our boat trip.
    • so we positioned the picnic table with the step on top, so I could (almost) reach up to do the job
    • a young guy who was parked up next door to us said 'Here, let me do that.' I think he was worried by my standing on the step on top... Max turned out to be very competent and he was very kind. His wife Maddy, said he had been busting to help someone for their whole holiday, so we were a blessing1
    • People are kind.
As we walked to the watertaxi jetty David wanted to take a photo down by the lake in front of the Driftaway Holiday Park


Waiting for the watertaxi at Frankton with The Remarkables in the background.
The airport is not far away - in the afternoons, we watched the bigger planes leaving for Australia. When they take off, they are above the height of those hills across from the jetty before they pass them by! This plane is titchy and was landing from somewhere in NZ.
And here comes our taxi - it had been to pick up people from the Hilton Hotel across the lake from us first.


The water was crystal clear everywhere down in this part of the world.
Selfies are not my forte, OK? But here we are sitting outside in the stern of the taxi. Next to us were two German guys - one of whom felt rather seasick. Mmmm, there was almost no swell. I did say to him afterwards that he would be sensible to reconsider any seagoing trip here in NZ... I did say it kindly, with no trace of derision in my voice, honest!
Evidence of Fergburger purchase

Evidence of Fergburger consumption - very yummy. And we didn't feed the ducks at all! David brought half of his back to have for dinner. I ate all of mine in QT...
Heading back to Frankton, sitting outside in the stern again. This trip made me very happy - I loved it!

I sat by the side on the way back, and I couldn't stop grinning! I think I even did a little feet and fist dance with delight...
A bit choppier as we came back - fabulous! I think this might be by Kelvin Point or somesuch.
Houses between The Remarkables and the lake - I have no idea how much these houses would sell for - lots more than our little place in Parkwood, I am sure!


As we walked back from the watertaxi jetty, the weather came in from the Queenstown side - this was one reason we caught the taxi back straight after we had eaten. We could see the rain getting ready to drench us all. And it hosed down overnight!

This is lovely Max who couldn't bear the thought of my standing on the stool on top of the picnic table ...
Here is some of his taping up of anywhere that could have let water in - as per Luke of PeakRV's instructions.

He did a thorough job and we really appreciated it. As his wife Maddy said he had really been missing being helpful,  we were doing him a service really by being needy, I guess 😇


Frankton to Te Anau: A lovely drive beside a beautiful lake. We stopped for breakfast at a layby but it was so cold we ate inside the motorhome...

Our breakfast stop - this layby was down a winding narrow roadway off the main road. See those clouds in the background? They were pushing lots of cold air towards us, I reckon. It was freezing and very breezy!
The snow was on the tops here too. It must be late autumn/early winter, I reckon!

10 degrees outside and a palindrome - one of many this trip, and I think I have only photographed this one.


Te Anau: This was the beginning of the purpose for our trip south - two nights at the Fiordland Lodge before the 2 night trip on Doubtful Sound.

  • I mistakenly entered Te Anau Lodge in the GPS and we rocked up at a place that wasn't what was advertised ...
    • In we went and had a lovely chat with Kim, trying to check in, but we soon established that we had come to the wrong place. Doh!
    • However, Kim the receptionist gave us a tour of Te Anau Lodge and if we are ever down this way again, it's where we will be staying! Check it out here.
      • It's a former convent, and the guest rooms are named accordingly - a great sense of humour:
      •  the Mother Superior's room has a black duvet cover with a red rose pillow, and there is a habit hanging in the wardrobe. I wondered aloud if the whips and dominatrix gear were in there too ...
    • The view from the guest lounge (free wine and nibbles before dinner, paying after that) is beautiful - over the lake to the mountains 
  • Fiordland Lodge entered into the GPS and we wended our way out of the narrow driveway and gate back on to the road, and 6 or 7 kms further. 
    • Well, that lodge is swanky. And very impressive. And very expensive. And obviously aimed at tourists from overseas in the main.
    • We didn't feel intimidated by it, but we certainly thought it was overpriced.
      • we definitely did not partake of dinner at $135 per person for 3 courses
      • on our first night, we had nibbles from the motorhome pantry and fridge but ate them in our room
  • That second morning, after we had been speaking with the very lovely German waitress at breakfast, an NZ couple spoke with us as we left the dining room - they had heard us speaking to the waitress about going on the two night Doubtful Sound trip
    • Megan and Forbes introduced themselves to us because they were going on it too!
    • It felt good to have made the acquaintance of others who were going to be onboard, because, believe it or not, sometimes we are shy ...
Our room at Fiordland Lodge - that bed throw is made of multiple possum skins, the little cushions are made of possum skins - I am going to buy a few of those cushions, I reckon! That is the lake you can see out of the window.
The bathroom - looks fabulous but very impractical. Water from the shower does not stay within its confines - it oozes out under the bench and under the shower door. Not good!


ACP looking out over the untroubled waters.
ACP also raided the non-alcoholic goodies from the minibar. Disappointment re the minibar: on the second day, they do not replenish what has been eaten. Cheap move given we pay the same huge amount for both nights.
A lounge area near reception. See the possum skin with its intact tail on the back of the sofa?
It looks impressive by night too.
A helicopter arrived to collect people to be dropped off at the top of the Kepler Track so they could walk back down.
It was pretty breezy so he wasn't flying straight ...

  • After breakfast we went to the DOC Bird Rehab place, and saw the takahe
    • did you know that in the wild they only eat the tussock leaves? And that they don't digest the stringy fibre bits of them, and so their poo is long and stringy - about 7 - 10 metres a day ...? 
      • That is today's fascinating fact for you. Use it in the next pub quiz you get to create, OK?
  • We walked along the river side to the Control Gates - about 11,000 steps there and back. 
    • we spoke with one of the engineers at the Control Gates that were being surveyed/inspected - the divers had been down there earlier that morning. Rather them than me as it was bloody cold!
    • when the gates are open the force of the water through them is HUGE! It roils and surges so viciously! No one would survive being in it, I reckon. It makes the Stenson lock look very tame, Irene!

At the Bird Sanctuary outside Te Anau. Must read the interp!

You can read it too, OK? Well, maybe you can't as it's a bit faint. But look at the pictures...

The takahe - I have a much better photo of one at Zealandia when we went there with Olek in March last year. You can see its photo here
Approaching the control gates. The river is 'fenced off' with a line of buoys to prevent anyone/any boat getting sucked through the gates.

A closed control gate
One of the two open gates - that water is very very fierce. A cormorant that had got in there somehow, was tossed and turned and submerged a few times. Amazingly though it managed to surface and then fly out. Strong wings, I reckon!

There's a cycle track which may have to be investigated on another trip - if we ever regain our confidence!
On the walk back to the Bird Sanctuary where we had left the motorhome.

That afternoon after our long walk, we had linner - the afternoon equivalent of brunch, ie a combination of lunch and dinner - at Thai Anau. Excellent food and big servings so about half of it came back into the mh freezer for another day.

My massamum curry - delicious! I have no idea how to spell massamum, obviously!


David's linner. He ate all of his, but he had ordered a Pad Thai to take away. 4 of the 8 curry puffs came back with us, and half of my veg massamum curry returned to the freezer.
  • The next morning, we breakfasted and then made our way to Manapouri 
    • We had pre-booked and paid for a powered site at a local holiday park to leave the mh for the two nights, but two things had us change our minds:
      • the place looked quite dodgy
      • it was at least 2kms from the wharf and we had luggage to carry/wheel.
    • So we decided to park in the parking area adjacent to the wharf in the section for motorhomes. 
      • turns out it was for daytrippers, but the staff said we'd be okay there as it's not the high season - good call! thank you!
A tall mountain on our way down to Manapouri - disguised by clouds but it is there!


The trip was about to begin and there were heaps of people waiting for the launch that would take us across Lake Manapouri - Megan and Forbes, David and I were sure we were going on a small 10 person cruise, So what were all these other people going to do? 

On the launch across Lake Manapouri
New friends, Megan and Forbes


More info in the next post, OK?


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