After Queenstown, we ventured on to Te Anau which is where most people stay who are planning trips to see the Fjords. Our plan was to visit Doubtful Sound — named by Captain Cook due to his doubting it was navigable — in hindsight, I think Fletcher wished this were true. It was a stunningly beautiful, but long trip for us (especially Fletcher). The day included a car ride, bus ride and two boats rides all totaling about ten hours. And as any of you who have young boys know, nothing excites a kid more than looking at scenery for hours and hours on end! The part he enjoyed most was the power plant we visited on the way. It is the largest hydroelectric power plant in New Zealand built two kilometers directly into a solid granite mountain. The tunnel is so large that two buses can pass each other (I think it’s actually wider than most of the roads in Bali!) and the hall where we viewed the turbines looks like something out of a James Bond Movie.
Next we moved on to Dunedin which is known for its abundant wildlife. We visited an albatross colony which had over 20 nests with chicks. Albatross only have one chick every two years –and, when you see how large the chicks are and how much they eat, it isn’t surprising they don’t reproduce in greater numbers. One funny coincidence in Dunedin — the tour company we used to organize our trip booked us at the Fletcher Lodge — it was great! They even have a dog named Fletcher!
Our trip ended in Lake Tekapo where the Mt. John observatory is located. We took the evening tour up to the observatory to view the stars. It was extraordinary! Even with naked eyes, the view of the sky was awesome and it got even better with the help of the many telescopes at the facility. What fun to experience a whole new perspective from the southern hemisphere. I think when you live in the city you forget (or maybe have never known) what the skies actually contain. Being a city person for a very long time, I probably hadn’t seen the whole Milky way since I was a kid. It is spectacular!
Tomorrow we return to Bali. It’s been a great trip!!