Te Anau to Milford Sound, New Zealand

Distance: 79 miles
Time on bike: 2 hours

Although it isn’t raining this morning, neither is it sunny. The clouds are holding off, but we’re not quite sure whether a big downpour is on the way or not. The plan is to head deeper into fiordland today and ride the 72 miles to the end of the road, only constructed in 1991, which gives access to the start of Milford Sound.

Before leaving town we fill up with petrol and also grab some cash from an ATM and then get on our way. We’ve either read or been told that the road to Milford Sound is great for biking, but for the most part of the journey it’s a fairly dull ride. The clouds however seem to be getting lighter and we’re managing to escape any rain.

About twenty miles from Milford Sound we cross the mountains known as The Divide. This is where the road gets interesting and the scenery quite spectacular. We can see some glaciers and the mountains appear very close and have sheer sides rising up out of the earth. As a pleasant surprise, as soon as we come over the pass and emerge from the hand cut Homer Tunnel the weather changes immediately and we have blue skies and sunshine, something we weren’t expecting at all.

It’s like stepping through a door into another country; the road is winding and the tarmac is dry. Excellent. We see a sign for a walk that had been recommended and as the weather is nice we decide to pull over and get changed. The walk is to a place called Gertrude’s Valley and is supposed to take between four to six hours. We don’t quite have that much time on our hands, but we walk for about forty five minutes to the end of the valley where we stop on a large rock to have a picnic and enjoy the view around us. We’re in a U shaped valley, carved out by a glacier several thousand years ago.

After a bite to eat we then make our way back to the bikes and get there just after 2 pm. We then get changed and on our way again, but we end up stopping again just down to the road to explore something called the Chasm. This turns out to be a series of waterfalls where the rock has been smoothed and carved by the flow of water over a very long time. It’s actually really impressive to see, but as usual for these things they’re difficult to convey with a camera.

It’s only a few miles down the road to Milford Sound where we arrive just after 3 pm. We soon find out that we’ve just missed the last boat of the day, which is a bit disappointing as the weather is so good this afternoon. We decide to check into a local cabin for the night and will arrange a trip on the Sound in the morning.

In the early evening we take a walk to the head of the sound to catch the sunset and then return back to the cabin to have a go at fixing one of the locks on Béné’s top box which fell apart the other day. We have a go, but time will tell if it actually works.

Jour 384 – Samedi 7 Mai 2011. De Te Anau à Miflord Sound, Nouvelle-Zélande.

Distance: 126 km – Temps à moto: 2 heures

Il ne pleut pas ce matin, mais il ne  fait pas très beau, comme les nuages semblent ne pas être trop menaçant, on décide d’aller a Milford Sound, une route qui n’est ouverte que depuis 1991 et qui va jusqu’au Fiord le plus connu du pays.

On passe prendre de l’essence et de l’argent avant de partir. C’est censé être une route superbe, on espère juste que le temps va quand même nous permettre de profiter un peu des paysages.

La route nous semble bien sombre au depart, mais des qu’on passe le point qui s’appelle ‘la division’, c’est comme le passage d’un rideau et les nuages sont soudain bien plus legers et devoilent de superbes grandes montagnes, dont certaines sont couvertes de glaciers, c’est un changement spectaculaire !

On fait une pose pour faire une petite marche et un pique-nique, puis un petit arret au ‘chasm’ une partie de la riviere qui est faire de gros rochers sculptes par le passage de l’eau, es photos ne font pas vraiment justice aux chutes qui sont vraiment impressionnantes.

On va ensuite a Milford Sound ou on espere pouvoir faire un tour en bateau dans les Fiords, mais malheureusement on rate le dernier bateau… quelques minutes plus tôt et on l’aurai eu…tant pis, on allait passer la nuit ici de toute facon, on prendra le premier bateau demain matin.

On va prendre une chambre dans le ‘lodge’  du village, puis Carl passe un peu de temps sur internet avant qu’on aille faire un tour dans la baie juste a temps pour le coucher de soleil. C’est un vrai spectacle de lumière et on est bien contents d’être la, les montagnes des Fiords semblent vraiment être des montagnes énormes qui sortent directement de la mer.

On passe ensuite un moment a réparer le cadenas de ma boite grise qui a cassé il y a quelques jours, puis on va cuisiner dans la cuisine avant d’aller nous coucher.