World Trip Home Post Fourteen

Post Fourteen - Fjordland

Life on the EdgeLife on the Edge

I love this picture of Scott. We're down near Invercargill at the south end of the South Island. He was getting kind of crazy here, but he made it to the top and jumped to the sand without incident. -- Karen

Doubtlessly BeautifulDoubtlessly Beautiful

Milford Sound certainly is the most famous of the Kiwi fjords, but its neighbor, Doubtful Sound, is also exquisite. It is virtually deserted (you have to take a boat across a huge lake, then hop a bus over a pass to get to the sound) but for the one tour company that has access to it. This photograph was taken in the morning, as we crossed Lake Manapouri.

The boat trip to the mouth of the sound took about four hours round trip. At one point, the driver motored up an arm of the sound and cut the engine. We listened as water flowed down the cliffs nearby, birds sang, and leaves rustled. Amazing. -- Karen

Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin

The thing to do in Fjordland is to go out on a boat trip. Milford Sound is the popular tour everybody has heard about. There are float planes flying overhead and the fjord has plenty of boat traffic. Just to the north is another amazing fjord that few people see. Called Doubtful Sound by Captain Cook (because he doubted whether he could get out if he sailed in), it is as beautiful as the more famous Milford Sound but relatively untouristed. On our full-day trip of Doubtful Sound, we saw a school of dolphins right away. The captain turned the motor off on the boat and the only sound we heard were the puffs from the dolphins swimming all around us. They seemed as interested in us as we were of them. -- Scott


We didn't walk any tracks in New Zealand (multiple-day hikes that require serious outdoor gear we didn't have with us), but we did plenty of hiking, especially on the South Island. Here, Scott's looking out over a lake on a hike near Wanaka. -- Karen

Room with a ViewRoom with a View

Back up on the North Island, just outside of Wellington in a town called Plimmerton, we stayed in a backpacker hostel that had perhaps the best view on the island. This shot was taken sitting on the bed in our room. -- Scott


New Zealand was bittersweet for us. While beautiful, the climate and scenery are similar to Washington, and the culture and language, with some exceptions, is much like the United States. After all the strange lands we'd seen, this was, perhaps, the least strange. Coming at the end of our two-year trip, it was hard to appreciate New Zealand on its own because it constantly reminded me of home. I've found that, at the end of long trips, there is a certain point at which your head is no longer in the country you are visiting, but has raced home before you. You start thinking about getting back, seeing your family and friends, and wondering if anything had changed while you were away. Because of my freighter schedules, we were in New Zealand for over two months. That's a long time when you are ready to head home. -- Scott

Art Nouveau DoorArt Nouveau Door

We found tidbits of Art Nouveau sprinkled all over New Zealand. The early 20th century was a time of relative prosperity for the country, so it's not a surprise to see that period's influence in some of its fine old buildings. -- Karen

Plunge PoolPlunge Pool

There were waterfalls everywhere in New Zealand. If you arrived late enough in the day, the light hit just right. -- Scott

Next Up: Russell and Northland

Copyright 2002
Scott & Karen Semyan