Manapouri Power Station is an underground hydroelectric power station on the western arm of Lake Manapouri. It is the largest hydroelectric power station in New Zealand, and the second largest power station in New Zealand. It was completed in 1971 and uses the 230 metre drop between the West arm of Lake Manapouri and Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound to generate electricity.
Tours are by appointment and are included in the Real Journeys Doubtful Sound trip.
Lake Manapouri is a glacier lake located in Fiordland National Park. It is New Zealand's second deepest lake measuring 444 metres at it deepest point. It has four arms - North, South, West and Hope. The Manapouri Hydroelectric Power Station is situated at the end of West Arm.
Any visitors to Doubtful Sound must cross Lake Manapouri to join the road from the power station over the Wilmot Pass.
This is a beautiful lake even when covered in clouds.
Te Anau is on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau. Lake Te Anau is the second largest lake in New Zealand the largest being Lake Taupo. The town has a population of about 2,000 residents but can increase by up to 3,000 in the summer tourist season.
The town has a large supermarket, many restaurants and cafes, tourism outlets and has several petrol stations. There are a number of parks and a botanic garden.
The Chasm is found on the road to Milford Sound.
It is a natural rock feature caused by the waters of the Cleddau river rushing over the rocks. The force is such as to cut holes in the rock to create a waterfall into a huge chasm.
The Chasm is reached by a 20 minute easy walk from the car park through temperate rainforest. Footbridges over the river let you see the force of the water close up. Photos fail to capture the power and the noise or even the scale of The Chasm - you need to go and look for yourself.
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound on Highway 94 takes you through some amazing scenery - lakes, waterfalls, streams and mountains. It seems as though every bend in the road brings another photo stop.
The Homer Tunnel, opened in 1954, allows New Zealand State Highway 94 to pass under the Homer Saddle, linking Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown. It the Eglinton and Cleddau valleys.
The tunnel is straight and the road now sealed although the walls remain unlined granite. It is about 1300metres long and has a 1 in 10 gradient down to the west.
Mirror Lakes is a set of small lakes on the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound. They are in the Eglinton Valley in Fiordland National Park.
The lakes are set back from the road but there is a well maintained track. If you are not aware of them it is easy to overlook the stop.
This centre is run by New Zealand's Department of Conservation, and houses native birds which are rare, endangered, injured or needing special care. It is located in parklands on the edge of Lake Te Anau, about a kilometre from the town along the Manapouri road. It is a 15 minute walk along the lake from the visitor centre.
Some of the birds you may see in this scenic sanctuary include the kereru (native pigeon), pukeko (blue flamingo), tui, kea, kakariki, kaka, takahe, and weka. They are housed in good sized aviaries and information stands tell you about them.
I went especially to see the Takahe. This flightless bird with bright blue/green feathers, red bill and legs was thought to be extinct. It can still be found in the wild but only in the Murchison Mountains across Lake Te Anau.
Entry is free but a gold coin donation is appreciated.
Maori legend told of caves filled with rushing water and early European explorers had similar tales of undergroud caves. The location of the entrance became lost in history until it was rediscovered in 1948 by local Te Anau operator Lawson Burrows. He found a stream pouring out of the hills and upon squeezing through the opening in the rock discovered a dark cave with hundreds of points of light.
The caves, located on the western shores of Lake Te anau, are part of the Aurora Caves system. The caves are only 12,000 years old - quite young in geological time.
The glow worm uses its light to attract prey and and traps it in dangling threads covered with a sticky mucus containing a paralysing chemical.
Photography is of course not allowed but non-copyright photos are included in the personal photo and information pack.
Tours leave a various time during the day including one in the evening. I did the night time one as it fitted with my schedule but I would think the day time ones with views of the lake would be even better.
Named Doubtful Harbour in 1770 by Captain James Cook Doubtful Sound is in fact a fjord and is the second largest in New Zealnd's Fiordland. It is three times as long and ten times as large as Milford Sound. It has three large arms all branching off to the south. Hall Arm is quite protected and shows the visitor some amazing reflections.
The sound is home to fur seals, bottle-nosed dolphins, blue penguins and a variety of seabirds such as the gannet. The mountains are covered with thick temperate rainforest and waterfalls abound - especially after rain.
I prefer Doubtful Sound to Milford Sound.
Doubtful Sound can only be accessed by sea or by the road from the Manapouri Power Station over the Wilmott Pass. You first have to cross Lake Manapouri on a passenger boat - no vehicles - and take all you need for the day as there are no shops past Manapouri township.
Day trips are available from Te Anau or you can join the boat at Manapouri
Milford Sound or Piopiotahi is actually a fjord (as is Doubtful Sound and all the others in Fiordland National Park). It is one of the world's top travel destinations and has been called by Rudyard Kipling the eigth Wonder of the World.
Here mountains spring directly from the sea. They are covered by temperate rainforest and are the source of many waterfalls. The weather is not always kind but even on cloudy days the majesty of Milford Sound is awesome.
Milford Sound can be accessed by road from Te Anau. Once there you can take a cruise on one of many boats. The company below give an excellent service.
Travel from Te Anau along the lake to the Homer Tunnel to arrive at Milford Sound (about 120km).
The Morepork is a nocturnal native New Zealand owl about 30cm in size and 175g in weight
The morepork usually eats moths and beetles caught on the wing as well as small animals such as mice, baby rats, lizards and smaller birds.
The name come from its distinctive call"more-pork".
Located close to the Milford Sound road, is Mirror lake. It is only a short, 5 min walk.
It was very disappointing when we were there, as they had allowed too many high Trees and shrubbery to grow, so the good reflections that I had seen from other people's visits were not there!
I do hope they clear it a little, as you should get outstanding reflective views of the Earl Mountains.
Waterfowl and wetland plants can be seen against a backdrop of beech forest.
THE cruise we did was at 10am, with Red Boat cruises.
Milford Sound Red Boat Cruises depart daily from the Milford Wharf Visitor Centre.
Firstly, we travelled down the south side of the Fjord, passing our 1st point of interest, which was Sinbad Gully which is an excellent example of a hanging valley. Sinbad Gully is enclosed by the steep slopes of Mt Phillips rising 1,445 metres on its left, Mitre Peak on its right and the Llawrenny Peaks in the background.
Mitre Peak [1,682metres]was a little further down, and is one of the highest mountains in the world to rise directly from the ocean floor. It was too foggy for us to see this famous Peak! Then came Fairy falls, which is a temporary waterfall that dries up quickly, it was running at its best in the rain!
At Anita bay, close to the Tasman sea, this is where we headed across to the other side and to Dale point which is the entrance to Milford Sound.
Stirling Falls drop 155 metres, and is one of the two permanent waterfalls in the fjord, these were really spectacular after the very heavy rain we had received overnight.
Unfortunately, we didn't see any Southern Fur seals at Seal Point, wasn't the kind of day for sunbaking on the rocks, the Sun was not to be found! We stopped at the Underwater Observatory, and then headed back
We did see about 100 waterfalls, but we could not see a lot of the Peaks because of the Fog.
All the way a full commentary on the natural history and of what you are looking at is given. There's also a wide selection of food available on board.
This is a MUST DO when in the South Island of New Zealand.
The cruise lasts for 1 hour 45 mins
PRICE FOR WHAT WE DID ...2010...Cruise.....$65 Adults $15 child
Underwater Observatory......2010 an extra...$29 Adults $15 child
The Cruise we did of Milford Sound, was by "Red Boat" and it included the Observatory. We decided to have a look, as it would be different to what we had seen else where in the World.
It is located in Harrison's Cove, beneath Pembroke Glacier, amongst towering mountains of Fiordland National Park.
First of all, you head to the visitor reception hall for a welcome and interpretation of the geology and ecology of the region.
Next, we descended into the large, fully air conditioned, undersea viewing area, which features large, clear windows for plenty of viewing. We descended the equivalent of a four storied building, leading down beneath the fjord.
It was different.....You can see black coral feeding in front of the windows – all being inspected by a variety of fish. We didn't see an octopus, but we did see a seal chasing after a fish.
The black and red coral that are usually at depths of than forty metres are a rare species. Other sights were anemones, sponges, sea stars, horse mussels and fish.
The Fjord contains a unique and beautiful underwater environment, there is nowhere else like it in the world and it was one that we both quite enjoyed seeing!