Day 12. Friday 17 November.

The smoky fire kept the Namu (NZ sandflies) at bay, but once out of its cover they (only the females) bit with a vengeance. The cabin was given a spray with insecticide, but some managed to survive this chemical assault, and made sure we both woke up with multiple, itchy bites.

Milford is today’s destination, a pretty good road but the signs tell us it is 110 kms and that we should allow two hours. That turns out to be fairly accurate, but it also allows more relaxed time to enjoy the scenery: the mountains, lakes, streams, rock faces weeping from on high and beautiful forests of beech and black coral trees.

A stop at The Chasm along the way to marvel at the power of water that has shaped and carved intricate forms into the rock bed of the stream, by forcing and tumbling pebbles to create an eroding machine.

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At the tunnel entrance we have a short stop ( 6mins) while uphill traffic has the right of way. There, we see a pair of Keas, scavenging for food scraps. Such ferocious beaks!

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Arrived at Milford to a windy day and many, many others and were put off taking a cruise by the crowds – Doubtful Sound had been just right.

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So, back to Te Anau to take an evening Glow Worm expedition and to buy some insect repellant.

The boat ride across Lake Te Anau was suitably picturesque in the early evening.

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Then some information about the life cycle and behavior of glow worms                  (apparently they love sandflies) and into the caves. The roar of the underground river was one thing but the total darkness in sections where the gondola was pulled through was something else. And of course the cave roof dotted with the tiny lights of the worms was a bit of magic. Interestingly, people from various language groups adhered to the English instructions re ‘silence’ and ‘no photos’.

Back across the lake to town, it was time to find the pizzeria:just the thing for Friday night…marinara with extra anchovies. And the pinot is a terrific Mud House 2015 from Central Otago. Tomorrow it’s off to Queenstown.

Unable to load photos from today – will try later.

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