Dunedin, New Zealand
After some overnight rain we woke to a cold but clear morning. We ordered some room service breakfast as we had an early start, needing to be in Te Anau by 12.00 pm to catch a trip to the Glow Worm Caves. We refuelled the car for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised at both the price of fuel and the low amount of diesel that the Santa Fe had actually used. The trip down highway 1 was pleasing on the eyes but Debi complained of a headache because she saw two many sheep.
Our first stop was Gore, the Brown Trout capital of the South Island, here we found the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and the home of the south’s illicit whiskey making. This was well worth a stop and we even tried a sample of the moonshine. On the road again we were now heading inland and we found ourselves counting even more sheep as we passed through Riversdale, Lunsden and Mosburn, all tiny towns with nothing more than a general store and a pub.
Not to much further we passed the turnoff to Queenstown then Manapouri before arriving in Te Anau with it’s lake being the second biggest in New Zealand. First stop was to book a tour of the Glow Worm Caves, it was here that we found out that the Milford Sound Road was closed. The previous week’s bad weather had caused a number of landslides which meant tomorrows trip was in doubt. With a little advice we changed our plans and instead of driving and chancing being stranded we booked a bus tour going in and out the same day should the road be open. The downside, we had to cancel our boutique accommodation in Milford Sound which we were looking forward to.
Having sorted that out we booked a motel on the the lakeside and found a nice little cafe where we ordered two “lamb bombers” (roast lamb rolls with gravy) for lunch. With 10 minutes to spare we headed to the main wharf to catch our tour. The weather was perfect as the sun shone on our backs and we headed across the lakes to the base of the Murchison Mountains where there was a massive cave system carved through the bottom of the mountain.
We disembarked and broke into small groups each led by a guide as we headed into the cave system, we were ten meters inside the entrance when Debi was overcome by claustrophobia and she hightailed it out of there quick time. I was torn between returning with her or forging on but I new she would be even more upset if I didn’t continue. The cave system was spectacular as we wove our way past fast flowing water and massive waterfalls that created whirlpools disappearing into the abyss. Minutes later we arrived on a small lake where be boarded boats to view the glow worms. This part of the tour was in complete darkness, and the best way to describe it was like looking up at your kids bedroom ceiling in the 90’s when fluorescent stick-on stars were all the rage.
On returning I caught up with Debi, who was still feeling queasy and somewhat disappointed that she missed the experience but she soon recovered on the boat trip back when I told her that the glow worms were **** and most had been washed away due to the heavy rainfall (a small white lie but they were not all that impressive).