New Zealand South Island

6 - 9 March 2017

We began our journey to Milford Sound, making a stop at what we thought was 'Gem beach', but was actually Orepuki Beach, a few miles from there. It was interesting though, as the beach was far less crowded, was covered with colourful pebbles and we came across people panning for gold.

On a tip from the guy in the Hunting and Fishing New Zealand store, we headed from there to Te Waewae lagoon. After a lunch stop at the lagoon, where we had quite a haul of blackberries, we moved further up the river to try a spot of fishing. This proved to be a bust in the continuing howling wind.

Gold miners

Blackberry hunting

Long-legged hunty bird. (Australian Harrier)

We gave up fishing and drove nearer to our destination, stopping for the night at the familiar- sounding Clifden Suspension Bridge, to give us a head start for Te Anau the next day.

River at Te Waewae

Clifden Suspension Bridge

First stop in Te Anau was at the bird sanctuary to see the rare Waka birds. Here Phil became something of a duck whisperer, mostly through food bribery!

In the afternoon we took a boat trip across the lake to visit the town's famous Glowworm Caves. We alighted from the tour boat at the island and were immediately beset by sandflies. Fortunately it was chilly and we were mostly covered up.

A guide took us for a walking tour through the impressive cave which was well set up with walkways, before pulling us in the pitch black in a boat through a small tunnel to enjoy the light from the worms overhead. A surreal and peaceful experience before running the gauntlet of sandflies back to the boat.

Duck whisperer

Crossing the lake to the Glowworm Caves

Milford Sound boasted only one expensive campground and fortunately we had booked before taking the long drive along the dead-end road. We were somewhat delayed by heavy sheep traffic.

Part way along, the road headed right through a mountain via a tiny tunnel controlled by traffic signals, as it was too small for two motorhomes or coaches to pass.

Early next morning we were on the first boat tour of the day around beautiful Milford Sound, which was not actually a sound at all but a fjord, and the weather couldn't have been better.

On the way to Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Sunbathing Seals

Milford Sound waterfall

On our return from Milford Sound, we stopped to try fishing the Egglinton River, which was a lovely spot but we had no luck. As the gale had finally stopped, it was decided to head back to Te Waewae lagoon and give it another go there. We camped along a farm track at the fishing access which seemed only to be known to locals and walked to the Waiau River. There we enjoyed the sunset and landed two big brown trout with another getting off.

Egglinton River

Camping Spot near Waiau River

Sunset on Waiau River

The next day Phil fished the lagoon itself and was very surprised to catch a large brown trout in the brackish water in the full midday sun.

We took another trip to Orepuki beach to further augment Christine's rock collection and take a walk before returning for another evening of fishing at Te Waewae and another night in the same spot.

Te Waewae lagoon

Checking out the haul of pebbles.

We headed back to Invercargill the next morning for an appointment with an RV repairer, arranged by the rental company. We had told them the fridge thermostat wasn't working properly, resulting in battery drainage and frozen salad. We turned up as arranged at DH Caravans to be told by the mechanic that the fridge thermostat wasn't working properly. Apparently it was impossible to get a replacement to Invercargill in any reasonable time, so a repair was agreed for the following week in Queenstown.

It was time to spend another fun weekend with our new friends Trevor and Julie in Invercargill.

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