Postcards from Moody Doubtful Sound, Fiordland
Saying farewell to the sunshine in Wanaka, I packed up the car for a few nights of camping before New Year’s Eve.
The drive over the Crown Range into Queenstown always freaks me out by the windy steep roads, but the scenery is utterly beautiful.
Queenstown’s shine had worn off to me this time around. It was full of tourists and didn’t feel quite as special as the first time I visited. I did however make the obligatory visit to Ferg Burger for a decent meal before I got back into my freeze dried food again whilst camping.
Lake Wakatipu is a finger lake inland. It’s New Zealand’s longest and third largest lake. At 80 km long it provided extensive scenic views as I drove down to Fiordland.
Te Anau was a lovely little town and one I would have liked to spend a bit more time in. It’s not too busy, and it’s a nice clean and picturesque small town with plenty of hikers making it their hub for some of Fiordland’s Great Walks.
Henry Creek Doc Campsite
Henry Creek was my Doc campsite for the night. The campsites around Fiordland aren’t the most accessible, but this looked like the most decent one near Manapouri where I’d be taking a boat the next day to Doubtful Sound. It’s also close to Milford Sound, so a good campsite if you’re heading down that way.
It was dusty, but quiet with little spaces in the bush for people to set up camp.
I went for a walk down to the water at sunset to enjoy the sound and views, feeling really peaceful.
As the sun went down I did feel a bit uncomfortable being a solo female camper in an area where people were dotted quite separate from each other. Then around midnight I needed to visit the drop toilet which really wasn’t a pleasant experience. I wasn’t in danger, but it was a rare occasion where I just didn’t feel very comfortable about my situation.
Fiordland’s Doubtful Sound
Having visited Milford Sound last time I was down this way, Doubtful Sound was the next fiord on my list and it was very different to Milford Sound.
It’s much bigger than Milford being about 40 km from its entrance to the open ocean. It’s New Zealand’s deepest fiord too at 421 metres deep! I wouldn’t want to fall in the water there…
It took a boat and a bus to get to the boat taking the tour of Doubtful Sound, so it felt pretty remote and special.
Unfortunately I had booked a rainy day. However, I looked on the bright side, I had the chance to see Fiordland and its waterfalls in a very different scene to when I’d previously been down here. It felt very moody and beautiful in its own way.
The wind was pretty full on. By the time the boat got out to the Tasman Sea to spot the seals there was only a brief few moments to get photos before I felt like I’d get blown overboard.
I had chatted to a nice Italian couple (shared passion of photography with me) which was nice because it helped me see the sheer beauty of my country, even on a rainy day. The mountains and trees were so vast and dense with lovely colours and waterfalls dotting out among them (sorry about the slightly blurry photos due to wind).
Mavora Lake Doc Campsite
After the boat trip I quickly learnt how not-suitable my car was for this trip (really need a 4WD). 30 km on gravel roads to the next campsite took forever. Although it did mean by the time I got there the rain had stopped!
Again it was a drop-toilet dusty campsite with idiots zooming down the gravel road between the campers.
Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as scenic as I had hoped either… so I don’t really recommend this campsite you’re heading to Fiordland unless you’re doing a walk nearby as Mavora Lake is very far off the beaten path.
On the upside I didn’t get eaten alive by sandflies! Only dust.