210. Manapouri

it wasn’t a very long drive from Clifden Bridge to Manapouri but how the weather changed. We went from overcast, drizzly and chilly to brilliant sunshine as we climbed the range. Round the corner, what a lovely sight – blazing gorse and distant snow-capped mountains. So very NZ.

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Downhill we soon came to the Waiau Dam, at first sight not particularly imposing but of very great importance, as the signs show.

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On to Manapouri, the most beautiful lake. Low cloud contributed to the moody scene. We stopped to inspect a large turbine and then noticed this sign on a huge rock. Another sign said that the lake level would have been right up to that rock if the full scheme had gone ahead.

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 Seen in a local garden – a seal rather far from home! It was sitting in a little pond.

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When I first visited Manapouri on the back on Dave’s huge MotoGuzzi all of 17 years ago, we took a boat across Lake Manapouri then a bus to the power station then another boat to Doubtful Sound, and return. Motorbikes can be left behind for the day, but live fox terriers cannot, so we decided to forego nostalgia and go for a coffee instead. We had coffee and the inevitable whitebait pattie – an especially good one – in a converted church. An old organ sat in a corner.

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After a quick look round the near-deserted town – all the tourists were out on boats and the carparks were full to bursting – we continued to Te Anau.

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