Monday, March 18, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand VIII

Continuing south from Kingston and Lake Wakatipu, we ventured further into New Zealand’s South Island Lake Country.  There are at least 9 major lakes in the Otago, Fiordland and Southland areas of the island.  One of them, Lake Hauroko is 1,519 feet deep.  In the USA, only Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe are deeper.

While we saw a plethora of sheep farms and a number of deer farms, this was the only elk farm that we came across. 

As in the USA, New Zealanders introduced many exotic animals over the years, many for hunting purposes.  New Zealand’s only native mammals are bats.  There are literally thousands of deer farms, mostly red deer, throughout the country.  Elk farms are much less numerous.
Because of their unique native flora and fauna, New Zealand has few hunting restrictions re: season or bag limits.  This effort to protect native plants and animals seems a bit too late…but hunting is now very popular.  In addition to Red Deer and Elk, (Wapiti), those so inclined can hunt Fallow Deer, Rusa Deer, Sambar, Sika Deer, Whitetails, wild pigs and Tahr…a Himalayan import related to wild goats.  
Along the road to our destination for the evening, we came across this cruise boat on Lake Manapouri.  We wanted to experience one of the fiord cruises and this was one of our options.  The Doubtful Sound cruise sounded great but we had a timing issue so we passed up this option for the one we’ll share with you on our next New Zealand blog.  We wish we’d had time to take both cruises…

The Doubtful Sound cruise begins with a ride across Lake Manapouri…another of the big lakes on the South Island.  Then you board a bus lakeside, (elevation 583 feet), and cross over the Wilmot Pass, (elevation 2,201 feet), and then descend to Doubtful Sound.  Based on the photos, the view of the sound from the pass is very impressive.  For information on Doubtful Sound cruises, just go to
This is the view of Lake Te Anau from our Bed and Breakfast in the town of Te Anau.  This lake is the 2nd largest on the South Island at 133 square miles.

Te Anau, (the town), has a fixed population of around 2,000 and it’s on the east shore of the lake...with the mountains across the lake.  In season, the town’s head count can swell to 5,000 on any given night.  Of note is the nearby Te Anau Wildlife Center where bird lovers can view the Takahe…a very rare flightless bird. ( We did see it but our photos don’t show much as it stays in high grass in its enclosure.  
This was our Bed and Breakfast in Te Anau…The Cats Whiskers.  Our accommodations were very nice and they served us the closest thing to an American breakfast that we had on the entire trip.  Current rates appear to range between $115 NZ to $180 NZ.  That converts to $95 US to $150 US.  For more information, you can go to 
You might ask…Why is this Bed and Breakfast named the Cat’s Whiskers?  Well, if you don’t like cats, this inn won’t be your cup of tea!  As we were unloading our rental car, this cat decided to make herself home in the back window of the car.  She didn’t really want to leave either… There were several other cats on premises, although not in the inn itself.  As it happens, we like cats so this encounter was a little treat for us…
One big attraction at Te Anau is the limestone caverns on the other side of the lake.  The photo above is of the stream flowing from the caves into the lake.  You can see the tour boat beyond that took us across the lake.  The caves closest to the lake contain a glowworm colony.  Part of the experience is being poled on a punt or flat bottom boat through the cave with the glow worms doing their thing on the cave’s ceiling above you.  It was interesting and it is a popular tour.  The adult tour rate is $75 NZ or roughly $62 US.  For more information, go to  I’d show you a photo of the cave but they just didn’t come out…
This is actual proof that we were both on this adventure!  Some nice tourist offered to take our photo… On this tour, Laurie and I met the only people we’ve ever come across from New Caledonia in the South Pacific.  We also met a number of young men and women, often traveling alone or in pairs, who were off on a post collegiate exploration of the rest of the world.  Sadly, we didn’t encounter more than one or two young Americans on one of these adventures…
One more photo of Lake Te Anau… Te Anau is the starting point for 2 of New Zealand’s famous walks, hikes or treks.  New Zealanders refer to this as ‘tramping’… The Milford Track, (33 miles, 3 – 4 days), and the Kepler Track, (37 miles, 3 -4 days), begin here… So does the 76 mile road to Milford Sound, our next destination!

If you're into hiking, for additional information on the Milford Track, just go to  For the Kepler Track, check it out at
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for another glimpse of a portion of our New Zealand adventure!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. what a lovely photo of both of you! You guys could advertise for New Zealand! what an adventure it must have been to experience so many things!
    I have never even heard of an elk farm!

  2. I'm sure enjoying my trip to New Zealand.

  3. I was so glad to see the "proof of life photo". This was a fabulous trip and the picture shows how much you both enjoyed it. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  4. What with our 10-day trip and writing my posts I am behind again, but I looked at all your past posts. I really enjoyed reading about your trip to New Zealand – what a beautiful country! You took some very good photographs. I see you got some snow too in early March – it must have been the same week-end we were in Nashville. I really enjoyed looking at the wild turkey in your yard.
    I also enjoyed looking at your old postcards of Jackson and reading your narrative – it must have been a great city to grow up in. I have a large collection of postcards started by my grandfather, then in the 80s there were several postcard dealers in the area and I stopped there often and bought many cards – I still buy old postcards in flea markets - I have boxes and boxes of them. We stopped in Jackson, TN, while on our drive to Memphis. Then with our daughter we drove to Jackson, Mississippi. So many Jacksons in the US! Your steak with green peppercorn at the Northshore Brasserie made me drool (I think that is the word) but I am not sure about your brunch innovations… Your pictures of New Zealand enlarged look stunning. That is a trip I would love to make.