Day 12

This morning, we woke up to a pleasant surprise of snow on the ground.  Something we thought we had escaped when we left South Dakota.  Our day was going to consist of a cruise on Lake Manapouri and sailing to the Doubtful Sound.

A map of our cruise that included two boats and a bus.
We showed up to Pearl Harbour Real Journey’s Visitor Centre at around 9 a.m.  Dr. Julie Walker then handed out our tickets for our Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise, where we boarded the Patea Explorer at 9:30 a.m.  Unfortunately, we had a 45 min delay, because a bus from Queenstown was running late due to weather.  We filled our time by talking with locals and munching on snacks we got at the food counter.  Finally, we took off on our cruise and we were already taken back by how beautiful the snow made the landscape appear, even though it was a gloomy morning.  Our Skipper (captain) informed us that Lake Manapouri is the 2nd largest lake in New Zealand, which is 440 meters deep.  It stretches over 100 kilometers and is populated with lots of trout, which is great for fishing.  We roamed around the boat looking for the best place to take a picture without losing our phones in the lake.  

Manapouri Power Station.
An hour later, we arrived at the Manapouri Power Station, where we transferred to a bus that would take us through the Wilmot Pass Road.  The buses already had chains on the wheels which eased our nerves from our ditch incident from the other day.  Our bus driver then led us through a winding trail that was filled with a fresh layer of snow that filled the trees. We took a quick stop at Helena Falls, which was breathtaking.  Then we continued on until we reached Deep Cove, where we embarked on another vessel to take us to Doubtful Sound.  

The Skipper looking out over the cabin explaining different views on our trip.
A double sided rainbow appeared at Marcaciones Point.
Again we were stunned by the views we got when we were on the front of the boat.  Some students got the luxury of seeing the local seals, sun bathing on the rocks.  We made it out almost to the Tasman Sea, but we were stopped when the waves began to rock the boat.  It was almost to the point that it knocked our students and even Dr. Walker off their feet.  Moments later, we saw a rainbow that you could see both ends of, but, unfortunately, we found no gold.  On the bright side, all the students were oohing and awing at this beautiful site.  We continued on to Doubtful Sound, and, when we reached this point, the Skipper shut off all the engines and told all passengers to remain quiet. 
A beautiful picture of where we remained silent at Doubtful Sound.
The tranquility of New Zealand was at its highest at that moment.  The only thing you could hear was waterfalls and the waves crashing on the shore.  We then started to make our way back to Pearl Harbor, still in awe of the natural beauty.

On our way back over the Wilmot Pass, the gloomy weather changed to a clearer sky line which allowed us to stop at a lookout.  The Wilmot Pass Lookout gave an extraordinary view of Lake Manapouri and the Kepler Mountains.  We even had time for a small snow ball fight before we left for the Manapouri Power Station to end our trip.  It was a calm 45 min cruise over Lake Manapouri that gave us an amazing view of our ending journey. 
Wilmot Pass Lookout.

Now we are on our way to meet our farm stay family’s to snuggle in for the night.

Alana & Seth

Sincerely your bloggers, Alana and Seth