One of the regrets I have about this section of our trip is that, short of time, we decided to miss out the Moariki boulders. It is one of the reasons I wanted to travel so far south on the east coast. These perfectly round rocks on the beach, surrounded by mystery, resemble dinosaur eggs. Something to return to, I guess.
It was time to head across country to Te Anau, following the mountains all the way, rounding corners to discover blankets of purple and pink wild lupins, and hillsides covered in bright yellow broom. We had been used to thick cloud cover by now, but if I say that the average annual rainfall in the Te Anau area is six metres, that probably gives you a few clues of what it was like. Wet is one, insufficient word for it. Te Anau is a popular launching of point for day trips to the serene Milford Sound inlets and fiords, accessible by one dead-end road.
Milford Sound is one of the pinnacle sights that draws tourists to the Fiordlands, and is one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. Ironically, it’s not even a sound, given that it was a created by glaciers, but it follows the suit of other “sounds” in the Fiordland coast, lapping on to the Tasman Sea.
Tour guides practically clapped us on the back, congratulating us for choosing one of the best days to see it. I’m sure this was said through gritted smiles – not many people like standing in the rain. But in one way they were right. The rainfall meant than the black mass of mountains surrounding the Sound had sprung several leaks; waterfalls that are only turned on during rainy weather. So we were able to see a pretty spectacular show. However, it was raining, and as rain and cameras don’t mix too well, I have little evidence to prove this. You'll just have to hope that it is raining when you go.
A coach took us from Te Anau to Milford Sound, which gave us the opportunity to relax and look out of the window, and a boat gracefully glided us around, before we boarded the bus once more. Even in the wet weather we were a welcome meal for the sandflies, so if you adhere to one piece of advice, take plenty of repellant.
Our home for the night was a cosy log cabin, complete with log fire and home baking from our hosts. Keplar Oaks isn’t an ordinary B&B. It’s a unique homestay with a difference, within the Fiordland National Park Scenic Reserve, just five minutes from Te Anau. With a friendly bouncy dog bolting around, rabbits and lambs to feed, and ponies to ride, my two little girls were in animal heaven.