We had an invitation to camp on new-found friends’ deer, sheep and cattle property some way out of town, but first we did a quick tour of the Lake itself and had lunch near the small boat harbour which was showing the signs of a lowered Lake level; the entrance channel was very shallow indeed.
Spotted in town; the latest in bicycles, a 5-seater ‘Spider’.
We had thought to do a Nature Tour boat trip up Milford Sound if we could find a place to leave Penny for two nights. The plan was to put Penny in a Kennel, tow the caravan part-way and leave it in a camp before the Homer Tunnel, spend a night there, drive the rest of the way to Milford next day, do a day boat trip and return to the caravan late afternoon/evening and back to Te Anau – and Penny – next morning. There is only one Kennels business in the area, out towards Manapouri, so we took a drive to have a look then phoned them, and booked Penny in for next morning. But on the drive back ‘home’ we realised we didn’t have Penny’s vaccination record book, and without that the kennels would not take her. I thought of finding a dog sitter through ‘Pawshake’ similar to the one who looked after Penny for us when we were last in Australia but it seems there are none in the Manapouri – Te Anau area, rather surprising considering the number of pets travelling in motorhomes. So we decided to leave Milford Sound for another day (we have both been there before) and instead concentrated on a Glow-Worm Cave experience, a 2.25 hour adventure during which time Penny would be happy to stay in the well-ventilated truck. As she did.
To reach the glow- worm cave one takes a 20 minute or so catamaran ferry trip up the Lake. Plenty of time to admire the clouds!
Once at the Cave, photography is forbidden. One must keep silent, rather difficult I think for several young tourist children who were with our group. The adventure itself involves a short bush walk before entering the caves. The walking platform is very good and there are plenty of handrails, which I appreciated as I have almost no balance in pitch dark! After going up and down and admiring the rushing water everywhere, our group of about 10 embarked on a boat ride in total darkness (and hopefully silence) through wondrous caverns twinkling with millions of glowworms. The tours are so well organised that there must have been about 5 or 6 groups all at various stages of entering or leaving the tunnel and two boats at a time being silently propelled along by the guides holding ropes. Afterwards we were given tea or coffee and treated to a short presentation about the glow-worm lifecycle.
Our friends’ property was about 25 k out of town, a long drive heading west and then north through wonderful scenery with views of the mountains. We set up the caravan for a few days, surrounded by sheep and, in the next paddock, deer.
We had views of mountains on one side and a huge stand of trees on the other, and free use of a little house nearby, thus sparing our black water tank!
Not far away was a public access road to the Upukerora River but when we finally reached it after fighting our way through long grass, it was not particularly imposing.
After a few days, although Te Anau, our friends’ property and indeed the whole region are wonderful, it was time to move on.