When kayak fish finder adventure lures you from bed at the unmentionable hour of 7am for 11 hours cruising and kayaking Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound, it had better be something special.
And it is, so much so that UNESCO gave special recognition to this pristine wilderness area in 1990, with the formation of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Eleven hours on the go sounds a long time but this is not like boot camp. Quite the opposite as it really doesn’t matter if you don’t know the front of a kayak from the back. The launch does all the hard work taking you and the kayak fish finder to explore the best spots, the wind always at your back.
Doubtful Sound is not accessible by road so a one and a half hour launch trip takes you to the end of the west arm of Lake Manapouri giving time to take in surreal views of morning mist clinging eerily to mountainsides.
A short 4-wheel drive journey to Wilmot Pass at 670 metres gives spectacular views before dropping down into Doubtful Sound.
It’s now time to meet the infamous Fiordland sand flies who attach themselves to bare flesh with fierce tenacity. They lied when they said no skills are necessary for the trip. The ability to apply insect repellent fast will keep you sane with kayak fish finder.
Thankfully they hate the water so once on the launch sand flies are left behind. En route the guide instructs on kayaking techniques and fits you out in polypropylene thermals, the sort of thing you wouldn’t normally be seen dead in. Over the thermals goes a full wetsuit finished off with a wetsuit jacket.
At Shelter Cove two-man kayaks are unloaded for the first two-hour section paddling down the west side of the fiord to Ferguson and Elizabeth Islands and into Olphert Cove.
You learn quickly not to make destabilising movements and with a little practice it’s not difficult to paddle kayak fish finder in rhythm with your partner. However there are many distractions.
Watching shafts of sunlight pierce the clear water or staring up where tenacious plants cling to life on sheer rock faces, takes your mind off the mundane task of paddling the kayak fish finder.
Gliding in silence past a fur seal sunbathing lazily on a rock while hearing only the splash of paddles and song of bellbirds is about as good as it gets. That is until spotting native rata trees in deep crimson bloom and fish leaping from the water, flashing silver in the sunlight before diving back into New Zealand’s deepest fiord.
Algae hangs thick from waterfalls like velvet curtains. Waterfalls are common; some exist only after heavy rain and are so numerous many are nameless.
Trips go out rain or shine. In the rain waterfalls thunder off cliffs, their spray in sunlight creating splendid rainbows. Wet weather is considered as spectacular an experience as a clear sunny day.
Gliding along in a kayak gives a more up close experience than rumbling by in a launch. Kayak fish finder can explore little nooks and crannies and move so quietly wildlife is not scared off.
Bottlenose dolphins are often seen and come really close leaping and playing around the best kayak fish finder before tiring of the game and swimming off. For the Fiordland Crested penguins September is the best time to visit.
Visit New Zealand – A Vacation Down Under
The North Island of New Zealand makes a great holiday, with everything from volcanoes and cities to some magnificent beaches. The equally impressive South Island is only 14 miles across the Cook Straight and boasts some of the most picturesque mountains and fiords anywhere in the world.
Located in the south Pacific between 34 and 36 degrees latitude, New Zealand is geographically isolated from the rest of the world. With flights from Europe taking over 24 hours it’s understandable that its location may deter visitors. However, the uniqueness and beauty of this spectacular country should more than makes up for the long journey there.
New Zealand Volcanoes, Geysers and Hot Springs
New Zealand boasts over 60 volcanoes, many remain active with some long overdue for an eruption. The volcanoes are mainly located on the North Island, Rotorua and the surrounding area is a fine example of geothermal features with everything form geysers to hot springs. The largest volcano, Mt Ruapehu, is the highest point on the North Island and a popular ski resort through the winter months.
For visitors who feel skiing or standing on the slopes of an active volcano isn’t adventurous enough, a trip to White Island should satisfy any budding vulcanologist. The submarine volcano is located 48km (30 miles) out to sea in the Bay of Plenty. Both boat and helicopter tours offer visitors an opportunity to stand in the crater of New Zealand’s most active volcano.
Mountains and Fiords
The Southern Alps are a huge mountain range stretching the entire length of the South Island and home to 18 peaks over 3,000 metres high. The highest peak in the range is Mount Cook, at 3,754 metres (12,320 ft) it is also New Zealand’s highest mountain.
The Southern Alps contain over 360 glaciers, the largest being the Tasman Glacier located in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. On the western side of the Alps are Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, as two of the most accessible glaciers on earth, they’re one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Unlike most glaciers in the world, Franz Josef and Fox are currently advancing at approximately 1 metre per week.
Situated in the southwest corner is the country’s largest national park, Fiordlands. Despite its remote location, the beauty of its deep, picturesque fiords and mountains attract tourists from around the world to see natural wonders such as Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound.
New Zealand Wildlife – Sheep, Penguins and Kiwis
In a country where sheep outnumber people by a ratio of 12 to 1, it’s not surprising many visitors come to New Zealand for its exceptional and unique wildlife.
As an island nation, numerous creatures are endemic to New Zealand, the most famous of these is the kiwi. Five species of kiwi inhabit the country, all of which are endangered. The small nocturnal bird has now become the national symbol of New Zealand and is also the nickname for its citizens.
Visitors to the South Island should ensure they venture to the coast at dusk to witness the spectacle of penguins coming ashore for the night. Three different species can be found in New Zealand, including the world’s rarest – the Yellow-Eyed Penguin.
Catching a glimpse of the penguins waddling up the sandy beaches is a unique sight and one that can be seen at only a few locations around the world. The scene is a stark reminder that the frozen continent of Antarctica lies only 2,200km (1,350 miles) across the ocean.
The Adventure Capital of the World – Skydiving, Bungee Jumping and Rafting
For the thrill-seekers, New Zealand is the ultimate adventure paradise. From sky to water, every conceivable activity is available.
Skydiving over Lake Taupo, jumping off the Auckland Sky Tower or bungee jumping over a canyon are just some of the most popular activities. For those with a fear of heights there’s even more fun to be had on the water, if white water rafting is too tame there’s always black water rafting which involves sitting on a tyre and floating down rapids in pitch black caves.
For the even more eccentric look no further than Rotorua where visitors roll down hills encased in a transparent plastic sphere in the latest craze of zorbing.
Flights to New Zealand
Given its location, it’s not surprising most visitors arrive in New Zealand by aeroplane. Air New Zealand is the nation’s flagship airline. However, many other international carriers serve the country including British Airways, Qantas, Air Canada and American Airlines.
Most international flights fly in to Auckland Airport, where connections are available to all major cities throughout the country. International flights to and from Australia are also available less frequently from smaller airports around the country.
Cook Straight Ferries
Several vehicle and passenger ferries a day cross the Cook Straight between Wellington and Picton, enabling easy access between the North and South Islands. Interislander provide the most frequent service with at least 4 crossings a day in each direction. Prices start at around $63 per person and the crossing takes just over 3 hours.
A Holiday of Variety
New Zealand has something for everyone, with such a large variety of sights and activities it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed at their visit. With cities rated amongst the most liveable in the world and scenery ranked amongst the most impressive it’s hard to think of a more varied, spectacular country.