Haast Pass to Te Anau
Driving south from the glaciers on the west coast, Andrew I were headed to Te Anau, in hopes of voyaging the Doubtful Sounds the next day. The road to Te Anau took us through the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. A full afternoon of driving took us past Knights Point, a lookout named after a surveyors dog.
Finally, we left the road along the coast and went inwards near Haast. The road to Haasts Pass took us past many lookouts and waterfalls. We stopped at two, the Fantail and Thunder Creek Falls. It was raining lightly, but had been quite dry up until this point so the falls were slightly less impressive than they could have been. You could see the rocks, creeks and rivers that the waterfalls fill when there had been ample rainfall. From the rainfall, we go up the pass, up 563m and wind our way down towards Queenstown then to Te Anau.
When we neared Queenstown, we were treated to some fantastic views! And, you can also understand why our GPS has refused to indulge us at all times! A crazy bit of roads, but ultimately well maintained. Tourism is a huge industry in New Zealand, and to be fair, there is only one road to get from one place to another, so it’s not like they have many roads to maintain.
Along the road we saw, as we did everywhere, lots of sheep. Some in paddocks, some snubbed their paddocks and thought the grass was greener on the side of the road. Careful! And, despite the AMPLE amounts of sheep we’ve seen, we only saw our first Merino sheep this day!
And I could write more, but I think the pictures will suffice. Basically, today we were happy with our decision to make it to the south of the south island. We didn’t get to do any multi-day hikes, but this day, we saw rainforest near glaciers, bush and mountains turn into farmland and while there were mountains, boy were there mountains, they were very different mountains. Not quite lush, it’s clearly drier here.
We finally made it to Te Anau. After a remarkable drive we landed at a deer farm 9km outside of town and had our own fun there before we settled in for another night.