Doubtful Sound, World Heritage SiteFebruary 15, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 59 °F
“This is fine country for the waterproof explorer” — Richard Henry, 1896
This was an amazing day! We are so glad it rained today because Doubtful Sound, actually a fjord (glacially carved and flooded by the sea -- vs river carved), is full of waterfalls when it rains. Only two waterfalls are present when it's not raining. Our boat guide said the temporary waterfalls will dry up within 30 minutes of the rain stopping.
It took some time and logistics getting here from Queenstown -- we boarded a comfy coach bus for a 2 hour trip to Lake Manapouri, then a catamaran took us across the lake for an hour, then another bus drove us an hour to the dock at Doubtful Sound. All of the views along the way made the various legs of the trip worthwhile, and the 3 hours spent cruising down the sound to the sea and back were spectacular.
We saw a colony of fur seals from afar, but did not see the pod of bottlenose dolphins that come into the sound, nor did we get to see the penguins, who have moved on during this season.
A serious feat of engineering took place in the 1960s (idea conceived as early as 1904) -- a hydroelectric plant was built under Lake Manapouri. The plant supplies electricity to all of the south part of the South Island, but mostly to an aluminum smelting plant. Public outcry over the original plans to raise the lake level by 100 feet caused a revision of the plans. Today, the lake level is maintained with a 'habitable zone,' rising or lowering within normal historical limits to protect the shoreline life.Read more