The trip from Cromwell to Te Anau was going to be about 3 hours and so we decided we would just stop wherever it made sense. The first place we came to was Arrowtown. This is what it says on their website “ Arrowtown is charming and quirky, a delightful gold rush village nestled beside the sparkling Arrow River and below magnificent peaks” we walked down the Main Street and took a few photos but really it is just a cute little shopping place, not something either of us are overly interested in. And so after about 20 minutes we continued our journey. One thing that was interesting was, the film crew that had blocked off the road to film for something in the local church, maybe we will see it in a future episode of Brokenwood. The scenery along the way was spectacular and made the travel worth while. We stopped at a roadside coffee van in a town called Garston and Rob had, what he described as an amazing lamb burger. My egg and cheese with all the veg was also excellent.
We arrived in Te Anau just after 2, checked into our hotel and then took a walk around the town to see what it had to offer. It is on the shores of Lake Te Anau and is the starting point for the Kepler track so was well served with both restaurants and sports shops. We had a great dinner at an Asian Fusion restaurant although I am sure we probably brought the average age up a few years.
This morning we went to meet the tour company and go through our pre track briefing ahead of tomorrow. We then did a sample pack of our backpacks to make sure that we could fit everything in and also to check if we needed to buy anything. We were on our way into town to get some last minute bits and pieces, when we saw a seaplane coming into land. We looked at each other and then decided yes we would go and talk to them to see what was on offer. After a 5 min chat, we had booked ourselves onto, what they call, a one hour mystery flight for 2pm that day. It was such an experience, we flew up one of the Fiords, so close to the mountains it felt like we could touch them. We landed in a remote bay and the pilot pulled the plane onto the beach so we could get out a just walk around for a bit before continuing the flight back around to Lake Te Anau. As an indication of how quick the weather can change here, our landing at the bay was on smooth water and by the time we got back to the lake the wind was whipping up the water and the landing was a little bouncy. What and experience though!!
And the obligatory bird pictures – the prints inside the sand circles are Kiwi claws, still yet to see them in the wild but I have hopes for Stewart Island.