Things we learned: little beasts
The fjords in the southwest of the South Island are impressive. And beautiful.The Maori said they are too beautiful for humans, so the gods sent the sandflies.
These little beasts have been a plague already to Cpt. Cook and his men. There are thousands. You open the door of the car and your car is full of them. They drink your blood and they don’t really have an elegant way to do so. Not like the mosquito that puts his long snout into the body. The sandfly actually rips the skin open with a rough saw-like jaw. It “spits” on it to keep the blood from clotting. That actually hurts a little bit. But the main thing is: it itches like crazy. And it gets inflamed easily.
We were lucky enough to never have big issues with them when we were camping (one could also say we were smart enough to avoid the campsites with a big sandfly community). But just being in the fiordlands means you get a lot of bites.
We were really glad to finally leave this area and continue to sandfly-free countryside.
Stuff we saw:
Stuff we did:
We spent a whole day in Wanaka in front of a fireplace. In fact there were four tents on the campsites and all the tent-people didn’t move away from the fireplace.
We read, talked and wrote. We sat there, had a coffee, some more talking, another coffee, check the weather: still raining, put another log into the fire, more coffee, more talking, reading…dinner and that’s the day. It was terrible weather, but with the nice fireplace and friendly travelers from France, the Netherlands and Spain we had a really nice and cozy day.
The following days were supposed to be rainy: with one exception. And we knew where we wanted to be at that day: we booked a Doubtful Sound Tour.
We drove to Manapouri with a short stop in Queenstown which didn’t impress us overly much. Our campsite in Manapouri was next to the starting point of the tour, so we could walk there in the morning and leave the car and tent at the campsite.
A boat brought us across Lake Manapouri where we switched to a bus that carried us to the Doubtful Sound. The drive was impressive already. But the boat trip through the fjord was amazing. And just during the last official hours of my birthday we saw a little attraction: a couple of rare Fiordland Crested Penguins showed up to join our little birthday trip.
It was a wonderful day.
The next day we drove up to Milford Sound on a stunning road. Even though the weather was not as nice it was another wonderful day. We had fun with the Keas, a mountain parrot that is not shy at all and likes to eat rubber parts from cars.
We did not bother being on a boat trip and so we shared the view into the sound from the standard viewpoint only with some thousand sandflies.
We ended up at a nice campsite near Mossburn. It featured some nice alpacas and two wonderful peacocks. Quite unusual on a campsite.