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THERE IS MORE TO NEW ZEALAND THAN SKIING - James Cove, New Zealand
Sunday September 2, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Much more as PlanetSKI leaves the ski fields to enter the fiords. Check out our updated blog as we see other parts of NZ.




Now this may be a ski road trip, but I enjoy seeing the local scene and experiencing some of the culture and nature of the country I am in.

The plan was to visit Milford Sound in the Fiordland, a 4-hour drive to south west of Queenstown and on the coast.

I have been in Queenstown for the past few days skiing Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

Fiordland is a UNESCO heritage site along with the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef.

It occupies 2.6m hectares - 10% of the New Zealand land mass.

In Manapouri, on the way to Milford Sound, we passed a quaint little church by the side of the road and decided to pull over and stop in.

 

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























I am not religious in the slightest, in fact I'm a practicing atheist, but I love the buildings, the history of religion and the light it sheds on the human race.

Only the church in Manapouri it wasn't quite as it seemed.

But it did shed some light on the changing requirements of the human race.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ




























Seems drinking is more popular than religion round here and the buidling had changed its function for the local population and the visitors to the area.

And inside I made a new friend.

Step forward 72-year old Sally Shaw who was born in the South Island and has lived here in Manapouri on and off for 50-years or so.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























"So any advice on where to go as we are taking a break from the skiing and what to nose round the south island a bit?" I asked.

And with that out came the map and the advice flowed.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























We had been planning to take a boat trip to Milford Sound, but Sally suggested somewhere else: Doubtful Sound.

We took her up on the advice and made plans to head there.

So, did we take the right advice?

It started with a crossing of Lake Manipouri, then a 50-minute bus journey up over Wilmot Pass and then a 3-hour boat trip on Doubtful Sound.

I'd have done the day just for the journey across the first lake.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZLake Manipouri, Fiordland, NZ























Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZLake Manipoiri, Fiordland, NZ



























"Don't take too many photos here mate, " said one of the crew to me.

"You'll need your batteries for the main attraction; this is just a gentle warm up."

If this was the warm up what was coming should be rather special.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZLake Manipouri, Fiordland, NZ



























And so it proved to be.

Now I can't say I'm a huge fan of bus journeys, but this one was an exception.

It was through a rain forest.

Fiordland is one of the wettest places on earth with up to 11m of rain annually.

It rains on average for 200 days each year.

We had certainly lucked out with the weather.

. Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ


























And what makes this forest special is the vast majority of it does not grown out of the ground, but out of the moss that makes its home on the wet rock.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























With little to no soil on the mountains, the trees interlock their roots and cling to the rock faces using the moss as an anchor.

It is also a supply of nutrients.

With the weight of rain and snow on their branches it makes them heavy and unstable.

The area has hundreds of avalanches - tree avalanches.

As the forest canopy grows so the moss can't support the weight of the trees and down they come.

There is evidence of avalanche activity all over the place.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























The mountains here, and across this part of the South Island in New Zealand were formed by the clashing together of the Indo-Australian plate and the Pacific plate.

The meeting point is beneath where I am now and is known as the Alpine Fault and it is how the Southen Alps here in New Zealand were formed.

Meanwhile the single access road through the forest that I am driving along has its own story.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ




























A huge power station was built at one end of Lake Manipouri on the 1960s to provide power for an aluminium plant - it actually produces enough electricity to power the whole of the south island , but most of its energy goes to making aluminium.

To construct the hydro-electric plant the raw materials were brought by boat up through Doubtful Sound and then a road was cut through the forest.

It became the most expensive road in New Zealand costing $4.5m in total - $2 per cm.

It is the only public road in New Zealand not connected to the main road network.

And at Wilmot pass at 671m we had a first glimpse of Doubtful Sound below us.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ




























It was called Doubtful Sound by Captain Cook in 1770 as he sailed past.

'Doubtful' because he had reservations about whether his boat, the Endeavor, would run aground if he sailed in.

He didn't risk it.

The boat I was about to board is 31.6m in length was just 0.4m shorter than the Endeavour, but that was the only similarity.

The EndeavourThe Endeavour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patea ExplorerThe Patea Explorer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sights though would have been the same if Captain Cook had ventured in.

And I am about to experience them:

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ



























And now I am on the Sound itself - all 40kms of it.

It has been like this for millions of years - untouched by mankind.

Words can do some justice to the area, but pictures are even better.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And videos.

The Sound is teaming with wildlife - seals, penguins and dolphins:



And of course once the video camera was off the dolphins came out for the stills camera:

Dolphin alert!Dolphin alert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we turned the video camera on again:

40km and an hour and a half later we were out in the Tasmin sea.

Over the horizon there is just sea, sea and more sea.

And the next landmass?

Argentina...around 6,000 miles away in South America.

And as the boat turned around at the head of the 40km Sound I had two thoughts.

There is more to a trip to New Zealand than just skiing.

Much, much more.

This is just the halfway point on today's adventure.

I'm about to go back down the Sound over Wilmot Pass and then across Lake Manapouri.

Thanks for the advice Sally.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New ZealandDoubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as the day ended we headed round to the next lake, Lake Te Anau, as sunset came.

What a day.

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New ZealandLake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New ZealandLake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand



























Now our plan had been to head straight to the ski resort of Mt Hutt, but our adventures in Fiordland called for a change.

How about heading south - to the south coast of New Zealand to gaze across the ocean towards Antarctica?

And then there are other rain forests and natural scenery to see.

The glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef are beckoning.

Skiing can wait for the time being...

Ha - never thought I'd say that, but there is so much more to New Zealand than just the skiing and snowboarding!

WITH THANKS

PlanetSKI is funding its trip: flights, accommodation and much else besides as we like to remain independent.

However we have to thank a few people and organisations who are offering help along the way.

NZSKI grasped the idea of the trip immediately and have assisted us in its resorts of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mount Hutt - thank you Frederique Gulcher.

See here for further details about the resorts:

Apollo Camper also embraced the idea of doing part of it in an RV and have offered support in getting the right vehicle for our adventures - thank you Tara Eller and Dylan Moetara.

If you want an RV in New Zealand or Australia look no further: www.apollocamper.com

Robyn Pester from Queenstown has given us valuable introductions to people who have not heard of PlanetSKI - hard to believe people haven't we know ;-)

See further details of the town that will be our base over the next week or so: Queenstown

And as we continue our New Zealand adventures this list will no doubt grow and we are eternally grateful for all who have helped.

And those that will do so.

THANK YOU!

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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