Manapouri is a great little settlement & was an ideal spot for us to have a break after our time at Mavora Lakes & before continuing on to explore the Milford Road & Milford Sound. We initially only intended staying for two or three days to catch up on the backlog of chores that come with being off the grid for two weeks; washing; both clothes & vehicles, doing some minor maintenance, recharging the house batteries and most important of all, catching up on computer work including my blog posts for Mavora Lakes. It’s lovely to have a break from the computer when we’re out of internet range but it takes a fair bit to catch up on when we reconnect!
In the end, we were enjoying our time at the Manapouri Motorhome & Caravan Park so much we ended up staying for ten days! Those that have been following the blog religiously will know that I posted this blog on my surprise helicopter ride and the photos of the Park that I took for Selwyn & Gloria. That was a great experience and a highlight of the trip so far for me.
Manapouri put on some amazing weather for us while we were there, sunny blue skies most of the time with a hint of a frost on a number of days. I was worried that we were pushing our luck and the weather would break before we managed to do a few of the activities we had planned. I needn't have worried, we had a couple of overcast days with on & off light drizzle. Even when the North Island & Canterbury were battening down the hatches ahead of a cyclone warning, Manapouri stayed bright & sunny. It's not the first time I've thought about how the "rest" of New Zealand seem to forget about the southern part of our country. The forecast for this area, when we get one, is hardly ever right.
Lake Manapouri is NZ’s second deepest lake and contains an amazing 33 islands. The lake has four arms, North, South, West and Hope, we were to sail into the West Arm later in the week when we visited Doubtful Sound. West Arm is also where the Manapouri Hydro Power Station is located.
|Lake Manapouri & the Hunter Mountains|
Who would have thought there was a sandy beach on the edge of the lake? It was a surprise to find it at the bottom of a gravel track just below the settlement. It was an even bigger surprise to see people sunbathing.
After my photography exploits in the helicopter, one of our neighbours came to tell me about a 14 point stag they’d seen on a deer farm not too far down the road on the way to Riverton. We took a drive and managed to find him but he had hidden himself against a fence under some trees so I couldn’t get a good shot. But I did manage to get a clear shot of the Takitimu Mountain Range.
And one of Mt Titiroa, a prominent landmark in the Te Anau Basin, quite clearly showing the white granite rock which gives its summit the appearance of lingering snow even through the summer months. I did hear from a boat skipper, that apparently in the 1980s, a hunter got lost and set fire to scrub to alert rescuers. The fire got out of control and destroyed a lot of the bush that covered the upper slopes making the granite much more visible.
Each morning & evening we had front row seats to some amazing sunrises & sunsets, the cloud & fog that often hung over the lake and around the mountain range turned to many shades of gold & pink.
We did a number of short trips in to Te Anau for supplies and to make a few appointments. We also called in at a few of the tourist spots along the way & in town. In Te Anau if you’re a Kiwi, you’re the odd man out. The town is full of tourists, tour buses, motorhomes, sleeper vans and monster packs attached to people. It's busy but not that bad considering it's a small town. The local supermarket does a roaring trade and the carpark is mostly full of motorhomes & other rentals. We have found that when driving our ute we're often thought of as locals and are constantly getting a wave from farmers & others as we pass by or getting let into queues. Obviously not when we're towing the 5th Wheeler of course.
We stopped at the Upper Waiau River Control Gates on Lake Te Anau. The gates regulate water flows between Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri for the West Arm hydroelectric power station and mark the beginning of the NZ famous “Great Walk”, the 60km, 3 day Kepler Track.
|Looking across Lake Te Anau to Te Anau township|
The boats at the Te Anau Marina have extra long mooring lines due to the high rise & fall of the lake from both the snow melt in winter & hydro power scheme.
This sign beside the supermarket in Te Anau amused David and at first glance I actually thought it did say the “Wrong Way”. I suspect that there would be many photos taken of this with tourists standing underneath.
We actually didn’t do too much while staying in Manapouri which was nice for a change. We did, as I said, visit Doubtful Sound & the Power Station, and we also walked part of the Kepler Track. Those posts will be coming up shortly.
Next stop Cascade Creek, Milford! On our last morning at the Park we had this beautiful rainbow see us off.