Fiordland Adventures & Discoveries
Local intrepid travellers, Doug and Brenda, share their photos and travel diary of their adventures and discoveries as they took to Fiordland by boat, land and air...
Last Friday, 13th November, we started our trip around the southern fiords with a 40-minute helicopter flight from Te Anau to the sheltered end of Long Sound. As we crested the last night ridge there was our home for the next six nights. A very small white dot on the brilliant blue sea surrounded by dense green bush covering the steep hills.
After a very nice lunch our boat headed down the sound to call into Isthmus Sound to see a waterfall, the first of many, and some interesting geographical features.
The next day we headed to a Doc hut near Puysegur Point to walk the 3 km to the light house. It was high tide and unfortunately the rocky breakwater no longer sheltered to landing beach and it was very rough. The skipper decided to try again next day. Our trip was ‘winged’ with the water state and weather the determining where we ventured.
We went to a very nice beach, very rare in this area, for a walk. After a difficult landing, the walk was good and our first taste of fiordland forest.
A scramble through the bush to another beach at Cuttler Cove where it was slightly easier to get back onto the tender and a long and wet trip to the boat. We returned to our mooring for another dinner of blue cod and a sound sleep looking forward to tomorrow’s trip to the light house.
The Doc hut for Puysegur Point was as usual basic but dry. After getting onto the beach relatively dry, we set off for the light house, a good walk on what was previously a road for house drawn carts. Good views of the coast to the unimpressive lighthouse. An enjoyable easy walk.
The afternoon was a visit to an old private lodge which we decided to miss although reports suggested that we should have gone as it is not usually open to the public and was only done because the owner knows our skipper.
Next day was drizzle with some sun, we traveled to and explored Chalky Inlet. Saw several dolphins and enjoyed the experience. We put our nose out into the Tasman to travel northwards to Dusky Sound but it was very windy and rough so the skipper returned to Chalky Inlet which we explored seeing a wreck which fishing boats moored to and used the satellite dish that was on it.
Next day the wind had dropped a little, so we headed north to Dusky Sound and Anchor Island, a predator free island where we were to see several rear birds. It was misty weather, and the one-hour tramp was three hours and very very difficult.
Anchor Island was a very difficult tramp, we were both very muddy up to the knees and pleased that the boat did laundry and had good boot drying.
The wild-life was not to be seen so we were rather disappointed. The forest was excellent however and there were seals near the shore.
We explored up Cook Channel and overnighted at Supper Cove.
There were several kayak trips up various rivers, while we both did not partake reports were good.
Overnight was Supper Cove on a mooring with a couple of other boats around and excellent lamb for dinner.
Then it was back seawards via Bowen Channel, and Acheron Passage with a detour up Wet Jacket Arm. Most of the wine onboard was from Wet Jacket Winery near Lake Hayes.
There were lots of Rata in the forest and the views were endlessly great.
Next to come was an extended trip up the coast to Doubtful Sound.
After spending the night at anchor in a very small but beautiful inlet on Breaksea Sound called Beach Harbour we pointed the bow towards the Tasman Sea. At the entrance to the sound is Breaksea Island which we hid behind and fished for blue cod and tonight’s dinner. A couple of large cod were caught so all was good.
The trip north towards Doubtful Sound was quite rough, our 24-metre boat was surfing down the swells. The normal cruising speed of 10 knots suddenly became 14 knots going down the waves. Everyone found a comfortable place to sit and did not move far.
The turn into the Sound gave us the welcome relief of calm water for the rest of our trip.
We spent a long time exploring the many arms of the Sound which was the most beautiful of the trip.
The mosses on this trip have been particularly interesting and beautiful everywhere. Two arms that were highlights were Crooked Arm and Hall Arm.
Overall, we were lucky with the weather, the couple of wet days gave us the waterfalls and the windy days were while out at sea which enabled smooth cruising in the sounds.
At the head of Doubtful Sound at Deep Cove we left our boat and headed to Te Anau. A good if physically tiring trip which we both enjoyed.
Best wishes from the both of us, Doug and Brenda