Dunedin, TE Anau, Milford Sound

On Jan 22nd we started from Christchurch to Dunedin (ca. 360 km). On the way we stopped at the Moeraki Boulders which is a collection of large spherical boulders scattered along a beautiful stretch of beach like a kid’s giant discarded marbles. Funny things!! Be sure you go there by low tide.

Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city and has a variety of heritage buildings. Dunedin is called the ’Edinburgh of the South’ and is proud of its Scottish heritage. The most outstanding building is the old Edwardian train station. Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the world’s steepest street with a gradient of 19 degrees. When you come on top of the street you are tired! We enjoyed the Chinese Garden too, a place of tranquility and relaxation close to the busy city center.

We headed then to the Otago Peninsula where lots of penguins, albatross, sea lions and seals live. There is also an Royal Albatross Center but they asked for 40 NZ$ entrance fee and we didn’t want to pay this. Some seals lying and swimming around were for free. Unfortunately you can not see the Larnach castle if you don’t pay the expensive entrance fee.

On Jan 25 we started towards the next station on our trip: Te Anau. Te Anaua is the main gateway to the Fiordland. It was the southernmost point on our trip and the weather was adequate: rain and virtually no sight. We had a stroll on the Lakeside Track. Next day we attended a guided tour to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves with http://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/destinations/te-anau/.

After a cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau we entered a cave and then we took a small boat and went into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by thousands of glowworms, unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures as this will harm the glowworms.

The other day we headed toward Milford Sound which is a ca 120 km trip. In Te Anau it was rainy and we were afraid that we cannot see anything. But after passing the Homer tunnel close to Milford Sound suddenly the sun was shining and clouds were gone! We couldn’t believe this, but it was true!

At a parking lot we saw kea parrots. They are very cute, however they love damaging the cars so we had to pay attention that they do not choose our car.  At Milford Sound we took one of the numerous boats for a two hours tour.

The Sound is truly magnificent, high mountain peaks crashing directly down to the water with many waterfalls , some as high as 1000 meters and lots of fjord-like bays. Our skipper got us up close and personal with some of the waterfalls. In fact, if you were on the bow of the boat, you got soaked. We saw seals basking on the rocks. It is just beautiful. The landscape is majestic but everything depends on the weather. And we were lucky! Coming back to Te Anau it was rainy again!