After Steward Island we had of course to go north again. We planned a one night stay in a hut a bit outside of Manapouri, but Eva caught a bit of a cold and finally we stayed 3 days in this hut. The hut was one of several huts that shared the toilet and shower facilities located in one center building. Every hut had a double bed, a couch, a table with chairs, a cold water supply, a stove to heat with wood and a gas stove with two spots to cook. And, besides that all there is a nice veranda with a coach that granted a nice view down to the valley and the opposite mountains. So, overall a perfect place to cure a cold – either lying in bed or sitting in the sun on the veranda. Even without the cold to cure it was already time to have a short rest from sleeping somewhere else every night for the last weeks. I enjoyed it a lot to sit on the veranda in the sun, drinking a cold beer or a cider and just watching the landscape and appreciate the silence.
After this break we had quite a long drive up to the Milford Sound. We left early in the morning to catch one of the early cruises in the sound (=fjord) and it was a bit more than a 2 hour drive. Weather conditions weren´t good from the start, but the sounds have quite special weather conditions so we hoped to be lucky. When we arrived we faced low hanging clouds that made a cruise in the sound worthless. We decided to wait until it is clearing up – until we decided to go for a cruise we waited 5h, but it was worth it.
Since it was the last cruise of the day we weren´t eager to drive all the way back on the same day. We just drove about 45 min back and found a nice, but very simple accommodation at Gunn´s Camp. Our hut was just big enough to have enough space for the bed. The public facilities served its purpose – but what can be expected in the middle of nowhere. After dusk we did a short hike to a nearby spot with glowworms.
Next day was cloudy again, but again we hoped to be lucky. We drove a bit into the direction of the Milford sound to do a hike we got suggested. And we were lucky – at the starting point of the hike it was sunny. The hike to the Gertrude saddle was quite exhausting but very nice, but the saddle was in the clouds and so we missed a good view down to the sound. Nevertheless it was a great and more sophisticated track (many of the tracks here in NZ can be labelled as nearly wheelchair-accessible, and that’s boring)