A Day’s Outing

We are still in Invercargill. Our friend is getting married this Sunday and we are looking forward to that occasion.

Wednesday we decided to take a trip up to Te Anau and Manapouri Lakes. A destination we were aimed at before our mechanical problems.

Te Anau is two hours away so we left about 0730 leaving the caravan behind. The trip up and back was uneventful. Our new wagon ran sweetly. Te Anau is a bustling tourist town. We headed off to the information centre. Normally our first destination in town and then off for a coffee to read all the pamphlets we had garnered. Really the only trips we were interested in were of several days round the Fiordland fiords and Stewart Island and a visit to the Manapouri Power Station which is currently not available. Maybe we can come down again some time in the future.


A view back over Lake Te Anau towards the town centre.


The control gates from Lake Te Anau to Lake Manapouri. The gates were only open about 1/4.


Even so I was staggered by the flow. Must be something when the gates are fully opened.

Joining the two lakes is a 1.8 to 2.5 metre wide, well formed and maintained walking and cycle track Length 28 km. There are numerous tracks in the area including the Kepler Great Walk. A great attraction for tourists, visitors and locals alike.

We headed down to Lake Manapouri. There were a few people in swimming. We were not tempted.


Lake Manapouri. A place that will probably boom in years to come. The lake level was destined to be raised 30 metres back in the 1960’s to give extra head to the hydro electric scheme being built underground from the Western Arm, thus merging the two lakes Manapouri and Te Anau. There was terrific public opposition to the proposal and the lake level was finally maintained at its original level. The electricity generated was for the Tiwai Aluminium Smelter at Bluff and was supplied to them at basement prices with no increase for inflation.

Leaving Manapouri we headed back to Invercargill. On the way is the Rakatu Wetland Development.


The Waiau River is NZ’s second longest at 85km starting at Lake Manapouri. With the formation of the Manapouri Power Project the water flowing down the river has been reduced to minimum flood level and the river that used to flow over 10km of valley width has been reduced to 200 to 500 metre width. Over the past 200 years 90% of NZ’s wetlands have been drained and these important breeding and living areas for our native wildlife have disappeared. The Rakatu Wetlands are a series of interconnecting streams and wet areas being developed. Birdlife is increasing and I saw several different breeds in the ponds. There is also positive signs of recolonisation of our endemic long finned eels as well as introduced trout and insect life. I was impressed with what they have accomplished.

As we got closer to Invercargill I was feeling like I could do with a milkshake so we stopped at Otautau. We walked the whole shopping area in search. At least half the shops were not open. Must have been an important business meeting somewhere. The only place showing some semblance of life was the pub. We saw two people walk in there. The one food outlet didn’t do milkshakes anymore but I could probably get one at the north end of town. An area we had just driven through. Finally after another drive and a new town,Wallacetown, we got a very nice milkshake.




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