It’s been a while since I’ve done a tbt for the Antipodean part of the world, so I thought I’d take a quick trip down memory lane to Doubtful Sound.
As this time last year I was landing in Christchurch for my writing sabbatical, the one thing I wanted to do most was make sure I travelled down the southern island to visit this unique part of the world.
Doubtful Sound (and it’s neighbour, the better known Milford Sound) is pretty much as far south as you can get in the world without setting foot in Antarctica. Not always easy to get to, it was a place I couldn’t reach the last time I was in New Zealand because that would have required all kinds of snow chains and adventuring in a campervan that I wasn’t quite ready for. This time I managed to get there during late Spring which meant the destination itself was the focus, and not the hair raising attempts to get there. Which is good, because the place itself is so remote and peaceful, those were the feelings I wanted to take away with me.
The weather wasn’t the greatest, but as it is one of the wettest places in the country, the fact it hadn’t rained for nearly three weeks was being considered a drought. Of course, given our gift of making rain happen, we soon brought the spell of good weather to an end as we set sail into the low hanging mist.
The thing about the Sounds in New Zealand is that they have very little top soil, with the hard bedrock of the mountain being just below the surface. This means that even a moderate amount of rainfall causes the steep mountainsides to erupt in an abundance of waterfalls. Despite the cold and wet, as night began to fall we took some kayaks and went off to see these up close and personal. The silence was astounding. There were only fifty or so of us within miles and no other manmade sound.
If there is any possibility left for peace and quiet on earth, I think this is where I would always like to find it.
For anyone thinking of travelling to this part of the world, I would definitely recommend it. Having spoken to a lot of people, Doubtful Sound jumped to the top of the list over Milford Sound, which is a bit more of a commercial operation. To fully experience the qualities this part of the world can bring, the fewer the numbers with you the better. You can get all the loud hijinks you want later as you travel back up to Queenstown.