Doubtful Sound


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Published: February 20th 2019
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Doubtful Sound, named by Captain Cook as a doubtful harbour. The westerly roaring forties would have taken him in, but he wasn't sure he'd get any wind to take him out. The Maori name is Patea, meaning ‘place of silence’ and it was, when the skipper of the 36 metre catamaran, switched off everything and asked us all to be quiet and listen to the silence. It was certainly a wilderness full of moss, ferns and undergrowth clinging to the perpendicular rock faces. Yesterday's rain meant the waterfalls were all running and today's sunshine made everything gleam.
New Zealand is the cleanest place I have ever been to, and there was no litter anywhere. The flotsam in Doubtful Sound consisted of organic matter only - leaves, twigs and branches from the tree avalanches.
Wilmott Pass, the road that connects Manapouri Lake and Doubtful Sound was built to bring in supplies necessary to build the power station. Now the road supplies tourists to the Sound and has a very light touch. Conservation is paramount here.
Tectonic plates shift together and move the mountain ranges upwards. The scenery was breathtaking, high U-shaped valleys and walls hung with greenery. The Tasman Sea was too rough for us to venture out, but we explored each of the shorter arms of the Sound. It was a lovely day, an hour boat trip to the far side of the Manapouri Lake, an hour by coach on the steep gravel pass, then three hours on a boat in the Sound, then back again by coach and boat.


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