Gateway to the Fiords

We hit the runway with a bang.

I have been on bumpy flights before, this wasn’t one of those, we just made contact with the ground with considerable force. Enough that it gave most of the passengers a fright.

“Ah, apologies for rattling all you folks with that landing, I don’t really have an explanation for it, so we will just blame it on covid.” The captains announcement gets a few laughs from the slightly startled passengers.

Today we are heading off on a little adventure I booked back in February when I thought covid was behind us. I have been looking forward to this for a long time, diligently putting money away each week. However, for the last 3 weeks, we weren’t even sure we would be able to go. Sitting on the plane, prepping for take off, it is all a little surreal, given that only 3 days ago we were in a lockdown.

All the passengers are wearing masks, it’s mandatory now to wear masks in public. Social distancing is also required. As I look around the plane at all the people, I wonder if life will ever look like our pre-covid days again. We are social creatures. We are not made for isolation.

I look out my window at the clouds. They look like big fluffy marshmallows. Like a plush, soft duvet and I just want to wrap myself in it an take a nap.

It has been a busy year with work and home renovations. I also took the majority of my leave in the first few months of the year when the weather was better, so It’s been a long time since I have had a proper break. I am looking forward to disconnecting from city life and technology and recharging my batteries by submerging myself in nature and a good book. Everyone needs this now and again.

We pick up our rental car, but before heading south, there is one stop I want to make.

Balls and Bangles.

It was closed when we were here last, so I am excited to finally get here. My bagel is great. Simple. Fresh. Done well. That’s how it should be. But the main event, donuts! OMG, the range is amazing. Daniel points out a simple cream filled one on the top counter and suggests I get that, ‘ah, no Daniel!’

This is what I am here for.

The choice was a difficult one, but I settle on a salted caramel, chocolate brownie donut to take away. (I will nibble at it in the car once I have given the bagel time to go down.)

With my donut safely stowed away, we begin the 2 hour trip South. We are heading to Te Anau. We pass The Remarkables with their peaks engulfed in cloud. They are, majestic, as always. Our route actually takes us quite close to the base of the range. I have only really seen it before from across the lake. Up close, they are just as spectacular, you get a real sense of the scale and I am intrigued by how black the rock is.

The rest of the drive is spent enjoying my sugar overloaded donut (so good) and the gorgeous scenery. There really is no limit to the inspiring beauty of the land in this area. I am pretty sure Central Otago it is my favorite place in all of New Zealand. Although, we are not staying in Otago, we are heading deep in to the south, to The Southland Region.

We arrive at Fiordland Lodge. Perched up on the hill, it has uninterrupted views out across Lake Te Anau and the mountain rage behind it. It’s raining, but the views and location are so perfect that it really doesn’t matter. We enter through the grand doors and step into what I would describe as a luxurious log cabin – timber walls, floors and ceilings. It exudes warmth and elegance. Soft, plush, blankets and cushions drape across the sofas, the huge, river stone fireplace sits in the heart of the lounge and very high, floor to ceiling windows brings the outside in. Yes, this is the perfect place to relax and explore the heart of Fiordland.

After getting a warm welcome and a tour of the property by our friendly host, Cristina, we make our way back down stairs to the lounge. I snuggle up by the fire with my book and Daniel wastes no time relaxing into holiday mode with a glass of local pinot noir. How easy it is to sit back, relax, and watch the world roll by here.

There is a break in the rain so I pop outside to listen to the birds, enjoy the stillness and breath in the fresh clean air. I can’t wait to see more.

Are you ready to come explore Fiordland with me?

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