Spending an extra day in Fox Glacier village was by no means all bad. I hopped a sunset bus to Lake Matheson and got great shots from the scenic lake hike. Since I had the time, I sat down an drew out a small calendar of my remaining days in NZ, which was a bit unsettling, as they are ticking away. I made a list of all the places I’d hoped to see, and all the things I’d hoped to do, and then I tried to match the wishlist to the blank days. In the end, I had to totally cross out several things, but it helped me prioritize my travel desires, and I used the open afternoon to call and make advance bookings with various hostels, one adventure booking agent, and 3 different bus companies. My planned and confirmed bookings will keep me going for the next week — the remainder of my trip, really, gulp — and only the last day or two are a wee bit unjelled.
I am writing this note from Queenstown, adrenaline headquarters of the South Island. No, I am not going bunjy-jumping (from a bridge, from a gondola, etc), or sailing, or jet-skiing, or whitewater rafting. I feel very tame compared to many of the barely-twenty-somethings (and I wonder — where exactly do they get the money for all these activities, as fleetingly-adrenal activities can cost between $75 and $500 per person???).
My itinerary is intentionally much more simple and quiet. Choosing the route less traveled, I am catching another dawn bus to Te Anau, where I will wander around untill catching a coach over Manapouri to Doubtful Sound (Cook saw the sound, but doubted there’d be enough wind to sail his ship back out if he went in…). The coach will bring me to an old excursion vessel for a tour of Doubtful Sound, and I’ll go overboard for kayaking as well. It’s an overnight cruise — we sleep in berthing on the ship. The second day includes a tour of a vast underground power-plant at Manapouri, and then I’m staying in Te Anau for the night at Lakefront Backpackers. Another tour coach bus will pick me up from there — heading south along the Southern Scenic Route, and down to Riverton (0ldest settlement) and Invercargill, then on to the Catlins. I will overnight in Curio Bay among fossilized tree stumps on a wild ocean beach, with lots of wildlife and vistas. The next afternoon I’ll continue to Dunedin and spend the night in an old mansion converted to a hostel, then I’m off to the Otago peninsula in search of Albatross (as well as seals and penguins). From there I head back up to Christchurch.