Doubtful Sound to Te Anau and the Road to Milford Sound

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February 25th 2010
Published: February 25th 2010
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Monday, Feb. 22nd - Wednesday, Feb. 24th

Doubtful Sound to Te Anau and the Road to Milford Sound

Without a map in front of you it is hard to explain this southwest part of the Southlands of New Zealand. This country of 4 million has few roads and they are hindered by massive mountain ranges and fiords. After leaving the shrouded majesty of Doubtful Sound and our new Dutch friends, we headed to Te Anau - a small but central part of this desolate majestic part of the Fiordlands. It attracts trampers (hikers) from around the world, who seek some of the most breathtaking hiking scenery imaginable. We have learned there is an international faction of travel vagabonds who spend their vacation time traveling/hiking and adventuring around the globe, to places like Ghana, Antarctica, Galapagos, Shanghai, etc.

We arrived in Te Anau to stay at the Dock Bay Lodge, a B&B set on the shores of Lake Te Anau - another 50 mile long glacial lake. Hosted by Dawn and Mark, the new remarkable home has a setting we were amazed with. We were glad to be there and hopefully will return - unless the unnamed Englishman persuades Dawn/Mark to sell it “at whatever price you need” . We can see why it will host a wedding this weekend.

We confined out exploration to the ride to Milford Sound - accessible by car (as opposed to Doubtful which requires boat/construction road). Tom Parks had recommended the 3 day Milford Treck - and we know why - but we had spread our time otherwise. The ride to Milford takes you through vast mountain valleys, precarious switchback, single lane man made tunnels and exhilarating vistas. It all opens up to the another NZ fiord - Milford Sound. This day exceeded all expectations as it is one of the most beautiful drives we’ve ever enjoyed, with many special stops there and back.

We next head to Australia and visit with Peter and Terry Stark. Peter was an Australian exchange student who lived with the LeDains in the 60’s. After visited us in the mid 90’s, we promised to visit him in his home in Sofala - several hours from Sydney in the Outback. Sofala is a town of 40 - yes 40 - so our experiences should be really local. Stay tuned.

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