Monay February 6th | Winton 🚜 – Te Anau 🐛 – Manapouri 🏡 | 337 km 🚙🌧
On Sunday night we checked the weather on my new favourite website yr.no … check it out here. We had hoped to camp at Te Anau but soon changed our plan once we saw 100% chance of rain in the forecast. Since we didn’t think setting up a tent in the rain would be very fun we booked 2 beds in a six-bed cabin at Possum Lodge in Manapouri which is a quick 15 minute drive from Te Anau.
Monday morning came pretty quick and we finished packing up the car. There was not much room with two each of backpacks, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, and sleeping pads as well as 4 camping boxes, a stove and a tent but we almost could’ve fit four little stowaways who really would’ve made the trip interesting.
It started raining halfway to Te Anau so we scratched our original plan of Milford Sound and booked a glowworm cave tour for 4:30pm instead. We arrived in Te Anau around lunch time so hit up a supermarket for some groceries and then found a sheltered spot to eat. My new favourite made-in-New Zealand food is Anathoth Farm. We put the beetroot chutney on our sandwiches and bought some tomato chutney and a tub of raspberry jam for another time.
After our soggy picnic lunch we hit up the shops. Te Anau reminds me a bit of Wasagaming: the scenery is beautiful (at least I’m sure it is when it’s not raining), it’s on a lake, there’s lots of neat stores and there’s a tonne of tourists. From here we went to the trout observatory. At $2 admission via an honesty-box donation, it was a steal of a steal of a deal. Just as well it was cheap because it was essentially an oversized, underground, fish-tank. Wanting to dry off and warm up we headed to the movie theatre to see Ata Whenua (aka Shadowlands or Fiordland on Film) which is an a compilation of some amazing footage of the beautiful Fiordland all filmed from helicopter. Val had a coffee and I sampled a glass of local Sauvignon blanc as one does at 3pm on a Monday.
The last activity of the day was the glowworm caves. You take a 25 minute boat voyage across Lake Te Anau (the second largest lake in New Zealand) to the caves. The caves themselves were really neat but the glow worms were amazing. The light is a product of a chemical reaction with oxygen and is used to attract other insects to the glowworm for it to catch and eat. The glowworm is able to shine brighter by supplying more oxygen for the chemical reaction – the brighter the light, the hungrier the worm.