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Monday 23 February 2003


Riverton - Te-Anau

Clifden Suspension Bridge

The sleep-in (till 8:00) didn’t really feel like a proper sleep-in. After getting ready and eating breakfast provided for $3 by the pub, we jumped on the bus. We stopped for a couple of breaks, one of which was a lookout called McCrackens Rest – nice coastal scenery. At a shop nearby there was a cat sleeping in a box which said “Bananas $1.80/kg” – we thought it was funny but cute – I wonder what happens if you only want 1kg?!

We stopped at Manapouri – the hills had slowly turned back into mountains again with snow on top. We walked around the lake shore from the village to a beach (Frazer Beach) from which there was a great view across the lake, of the mountains – very pretty. The lake was a beautiful blue, and the lightly snow dusted mountains green and grey. I sat on the beach with the driver and another guy waiting for the others to arrive for about 10 minutes, admiring the view. The sky was clear and the sun was warm, and it was very pleasant.

We then went the short to Te-Anau. It, with its lake is also amazingly beautiful – although I think Manapouri has the edge. I dumped my stuff at the hostel – I was in the same room as the other Bottom Bus guys. I then went off by myself for quite a while checking out the town – it has a lakefront road with all the accommodations on it, and one road with all the shops on it.

I walked down to the DOC (Department of Conservation) centre and past it to the birdlife sanctuary. It was interesting, there is no main fence – just a bunch of free standing cages and enclosures, freely accessible to the public. They had a couple of birds I’d not seen – there were only about 10 species there. The extremely rare Takahe was interesting – very pretty iridescent green and blue feathers and orange legs and beak. It was much larger than I thought it would be – about 50% larger than a big rooster. I went back to DOC and looked at the Kepler track brochures – I was thinking I might do it straight after the Milford. I did my washing in preparation for the Milford, then went out to see if I could book the Kepler. DOC was open, but the great walks booking desk was closed.

I went and looked at places to eat, and got a fairly good pepper steak. I met the guys from the Bottom Bus on the way back to the hostel – they were going to get some beer – I went and bought some too. We sat on the porch outside our room drinking and playing cards ( a game called shithead?) It was rather nice. After four Speights (the brand of beer) I was hardly affected, but the amount was making me sick of it. We went to the pub at about 10:00 and I didn’t drink anymore – we played a few games of pool – I saw a bit of a special TV show on the coast to coast race – it looked hard – I’m glad I didn’t do Goat Pass Track that weekend!