Monday, February 11, 2013

This is New Zealand!!!

After two days at sea we entered Fiordland National Park and what a gorgeous place.

A World Heritage site, it comprises 5% of New Zealand and is over 3 million acres.  We entered the fiords and the mountains looked close enough to touch. 

Created by glaciers eons ago, Fiordland has 14 fiords.

We cruised in and out of them throughout the day.

The weather wasn't with us initially, it was cloudy and cold but the sun came out later.

I attended a lecture about the park and the ranger told us that many people camp there by coming in via helicopter.  Although they may only be staying 10 days, they are instructed to bring three weeks of supplies because the weather can change quickly.

It is also home to all kinds of wildlife including the dreaded possum.  Apparently they were brought in to create the fur industry which didn't happen and instead they have become a major nuisance impacting the native wildlife.  The same thing happened when they brought other animals to control the rabbits.  Instead they started eating penguin eggs.  Once again messing with the environment went wrong.

It had been very dry so we only saw one waterfall.  Sterling Falls is the largest one falling 148 meters to the sea.  However when it rains dozens of them appear.

The water is fresh on the top and salty beneath so therefore the upper layer has a host of coral and sea life.

The dramatic mountains falling into the sea was a great introduction to this beautiful country.

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