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Invercargill - Te Wai Pounamu - South Island, New Zealand - Part Two

Nya Zeeland (Southern Scenic Route) 2006-01-29

We went South to catch the soul of New Zealand and we found it! Well, we headed south from Dunedin to The Catlin’s and passed Nugget Point, Slope Point, Waipapa Point on our way to Invercargill.

The few people we met (hmm – it’s not overcrowded down here!) where extremely kind and in Catlin’s we stayed at a farm. The young couple that run the place where great “if you need anything just go into the house and pick it up” Well, we didn’t need to do it but we liked their attitude. It seems keys (houses, cars etc.) are not used that much down here. Lucky us, we had the whole place by ourselves, a big kitchen and a living room, felt nearly like home! And not to forget....we also have thousands of sun flies by ourselves....(itch, itch, and itch). The only company we had was about 100+ sheep and guess what – they are really noisy when they eat the grass!!!

Another example of the hospitality was when we went golfing at Southland Golf Course outside Invercargill. First of all, it was very cheap – 20 US dollar to play including rental equipment and the people where very, very kind to us. During the play we where approached two times by the workers and they gave us golf balls they had found when they cut the grass and after 18 holes we got an diploma that we had played the Most Southernmost 18 hole links course in the world!! In the clubhouse other players approached us as the rumors was that we where THE VISITORS!!

The nature in this part of NZ is very soft, some parts of big forests that look like jungle and open spaces where you see sheep, sheep and some cows. The beaches lasts for kilometers and during our walk’s on the beach at Waipapa Point we where lucky to encounter Sea-lions, seals, Hector Dolphins and 1000’s of mutton birds fishing. Absolutely no other people on the beach – that is cool!! The weather was very nice so we got some nice photos including a superb sunset.

To be honest with you – the absolutely best place to watch animals is still Galapagos – if you have the chance in your life – GO THERE!

The reason to stay 4 nights in Invercargill was that we had decided to play some rounds of golf down here – and we managed to play 63 holes in three days on two different courses. That was awesome!

We found a very nice hostel (Southern Comfort – not to be mixed with – you know what!) where we enjoyed the company of Bill, Wendy and Sue. They really showed the fact that you do not only encounter youngsters between 18 and 25 on these hostels. Bill and Wendy were from Canada and 60+ and Sue from Brighton, UK and 55+. We had some great dinner together and shared experience and recommendations. Bill and Wendy were very into birds so they teach us a lesson or two – Thanks! They are traveling for 3 months and Sue for 6 months in NZ – hey guys – it’s not too late to be a backpacker!!!

The last day Deb and Rich came in their small camping van – you know Deb and Rich – The UK 365 days around the world couple - whom we met in the 4-bed room in El Chasten, Patagonia in Argentina in November and at the 4-bed room in Santiago de Chile in January. We have now got together and the day after we went northwest to Lake Manapouri.

We wanted to do the same things, i.e. visit Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and after a couple of hours thinking we decided to make a hole in the wallet and booked an overnight tour at Doubtful Sound. However, before that we took our car and went to Milford Sound. It’s about 150 kilometer one way and the road is very beautiful so we did quite a few stops for photos – look at the “mirror photo”, nice isn’t it! Eventually we arrived in Milford Sound – yes, it’s a fjord and it’s very, very beautiful – no doubt about that.

Pretty crowded with airplanes, helicopters and a lot of coaches coming in from Queenstown and Te Anua so we realized it was a good decision to do the cruise on Doubtful Sound as it is much more quite. Milford Sound gets a maximum of 9.000 millimeter of water a year (that is a lot, friends!) so we where hoping to see some heavy waterfalls but as it had not rained for a week it was pretty calm. In that sense the weather this day was bad – it did not rain!?

On our way back we took Deb and Rich on a 3 hour tramping up to Key Summit. No problem for these youngsters from Norwich – they almost ran up the mountain and after the homemade lunch on the summit we went back to the car and went back to Lake Manapouri.

We played some card and went to bed pretty excited as we knew we should have the tour to Doubtful Sound next morning…

Greetings from the Professional Travelers – EvAnders