Wednesday 27 November 2019

Day sixteen - water, water, everywhere

Up early and on the road through to Queenstown.  We had dry skies until there, but shortly after the odd spot of rain, that steadily set in as the morning progressed.  We did spot another falcon, brief but ok views as it flew across the road in front of us and then out over some fields.
We called in to Te Anau, grabbed some lunch and then started to make our way towards Milford Sound.  It was pretty obvious that today was not going to go to plan, with areas of the roadside closed due to avalanche danger, and the fact that it was tipping it down with rain.  As we drove the road we enjoyed the still stunning scenery and made a couple of stops to enjoy and scan.
We got to the Hollyford area and the rain was torrential and the rivers flowing very fast.  It was clear that rock wren just wasn’t going to be doable in these conditions, so we headed on through to Milford Sound to at least get a look.  And wow, the waterfalls and scenery were unlike anything seen before.  Waterfalls pretty much covered most cliff faces, still large patches of snow clinging to the tops and even down low.  It has been a very unseasonal Spring with much more snow than normal, and then a lot of rain recently also.  Road closures have been fairly frequent, so we were lucky to at least get through and see this part of the World.
At Milford Sound we had a quick stop to peer into the very thick low cloud, unfortunately not a lot on view here, but still worth coming to this spot.  We then headed back up the road, again marvelling at the spectacle that is Fiordland, and then back through to Te Anau.  Again we made a couple of quick stops along the way, a chance to stretch the legs, and enjoy some nice close views of black-fronted terns.  But the rain was still coming down.
We checked in to our accommodation in Te Anau a little early and had a well earnt break.  A chance to catch up on a nap or do some laundry.  Then off to a beautiful dinner, with the rain still coming down!  Our first day without a new bird for the trip.

Day total – Seen = 35 inc 1 heard, (weka); new for the trip = 0; total for the trip to date = 151
Within the rain shadow...

Within the rain - amazing!

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