Time marches on and we had to leave Invercargill for our next destination: Te Anau.

Fiordland Mountains

As we turned north away from the coast toward Te Anau, we began to see the mountains of Fiordland National Park to the west.

New Zealand Beech Forest

One of our stops was a brief walk along the the Kepler Track. To walk it in its entirety takes 3-4 days and is by reservation only due to the limited facilities along the track. We would visit only a small portion.

It was hard not to think of Fangorn Forest under these shadowy trees. In fact some segments of the Ring Trilogy were filmed near here.

Te Anau Lake Vista

Lake Te Anau, north of Lake Manapouri, is the largest lake in New Zealand by volume although Lake Taupo has a larger surface area. We enjoyed a cruise on this lake.

Tectonic forces form the Southern Alps as the Pacific Plate pushes over the Australian Plate. The mountains grow very fast in geologic terms and erode almost as fast. In 1991 the peak of Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, collapsed reducing its height by almost 100 feet.

Beech Forest

The next day our guardian weather angel took a break for our cruise of Doubtful Sound.

The best part of this adventure was when the captain pulled into a sheltered cove and turned the engine off. Beforehand he requested no talking, taking pictures, or making any other sounds. Most people complied.

It was magic. Rain on the roof, the sound of waterfalls, birdsong. I expect it was only about five minutes, if that, but it seemed timeless.

Afterwards I took this picture to remind me of the place.

The two ancient beech trees at the water's edge could be Middle Earth Ents.

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