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Milford Sound

Once called Milford Haven (because of Welsh connections), some say there is only a 10% chance that you’ll catch a fine day there. And guess what? The Maori weather gods were on our side! This place gets nearly 7 metres of rain per year. You may think that 2012 was a wet one for the UK, but that was less than a fifth of what the west coast of S Island can get on an annual basis. So if you have been a whinging Pom about last year’s weather, you obviously need to get things into perspective…..!

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You may think this photo is upside down…..but look again

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The road up to Milford is simply littered with must-see panoramas (sorry about the thumb!)

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then the launch that took us up the Sound (a modest affair but it did provide lunch)……

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to be entranced by waterfalls in full flow

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then when the sun came out the lingering clouds took on a special outline

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providing a framework for the soaring peaks. It’s remoteness is essentially a contributing factor to the conservation of such beauty, which proudly has the status of a World Heritage Site.

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If you come this way, hail rain or shine, put Milford Sound on your itinerary. You will not be disappointed.
To conclude the day, I sped the 20km to Manapouri to put me in place for a trip out to Doubtful Sound, even more remote, and accessible only by boat.
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Approaching Fiordland

Mossburn to Te Anau 72km (45m)

Nice to report a quiet day! Short on distance and almost lacking in hills and headwinds.
Te Anau is the gateway into Fiordland, the most remote and outrageously beautiful part of NZ. So it was never my intention simply to cycle past with ne’er a thought of lingering to gawp.
So folks, I am self-indulgently taking 2 days out to have coaches and cruise boats be my principal forms of transport, to take me to the very remote Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
But beauty and remoteness come at a price: the infamous weather (6000mm of rain pa) and the dreaded sandflies (which would do an ‘Agincourt’ on the Scottish midges). However, the weather forecast is promising…….

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Te Anau, prettily perched on the edge of NZ’s second largest lake, is a vast improvement on the tawdry Queenstown

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and my tent (on yet another donated pitch) has a view of some of the above. Sleeping in a tent no bigger than a Tesco’s plastic bag does have it’s compensations…..

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See you up the road!
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