Friday, March 14, 2014
Back in picturesque Fiordland, Mom and I spent the day on the Doubtful Sound, which is much larger than the popularly visited Milford Sound. We cruised across the Manapouri Lake alongside the Kepler Mountain range to enter a natural wonder of complete solitude where a bus drove us to the mouth of the Doubtful Sound. It was a steep downhill road, and it really felt as if we were on the drive to nowhere, completely isolated from the rest of civilization. The morning clouds still hung in the sky, and gave the scene an eerie depth like I have found New Zealand fog to be. This fiord resembled that of Milford, except much grander.
We couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day. In a land where it rains 2 out of every 3 days, we were so lucky to not have a cloud in the sky. Doubtful offered fewer waterfalls than my Milford experience, but we got the opportunity to explore many more inlets in exchange. We journeyed to the Tasman Sea, where the waters got slightly rougher, but nothing intolerable. There was a seal colony upon a rock where the water broke, and the colors of the sea changed into magic bright shades of blue.
On our way back, we also got to see blue penguins, the smallest penguin in the world, splashing about in the water and swimming around. Then we were lucky enough to spot the “Doubtful Trifecta,” and saw the pod of residential dolphins. As they played in the wakes of our boat, one jumped all the way out of the water as if it was on cue from an timed aquatic performance.
In one cove in between towering green mountains, the captain turned off all the motors and we got to experience the stillness of the fiord. We could hear absolutely nothing except the chirping of birds and the gentle noise of moving water. It was pure New Zealand magic.