Entering lush rainforest, our first stop is at Falls Creek Waterfall. Be prepared for the pullout on the left before the bridge! After enjoying the waterfall I climbed down to the creek on the opposite side of the road to wander along the rushing water and the blooming wildflowers.
A light rain began to fall at the next stop-Mirror lakes. Following the very short (and level) boardwalk to the lake I laughed to see a mother duck and her chicks just making havoc of all the reflections as they exercised back and forth, back and forth.
Now the road becomes more serpentine as the dense forest is left behind. By the time we reached the Homer Tunnel it was pouring "cats and dogs"! Just before you enter the tunnel there is a very big pullout on the right. The punchbowl surround of mountains had 10 ribbon waterfalls spilling hundreds of feet from the cliffs above! We opted to return here, which was a mistake! In the sunshine, the magical waterfall display was gone, there are only a couple of waterfalls that flow during good weather!
Everyone comments on driving through the Homer Tunnel which is more like a narrow descending mine shaft than something motor coach buses should be using! It is so dark and eerie that my husband stared whistleing the tune from the Disney movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". As a bus approached us in the oncoming lane, I had to close my eyes and hold my breath while Ron whistled a bit louder than usual.
The next stop is a neat hike called "The Chasm" which is a narrow rupture in the earth's crust along a rushing whitewater stream. We walked along a boardwalk among a rough carpet of ferns and immense rainforest beech trees. The wooden bridge ahead spans the deep incision where water tumbles among boulders worn smooth over time. Some are red while others are green and speckled giving me a clear idea why trout happen to be the colors they are! The textures and color of rock and the ebb and flow of the water is mesmerizing! Roundtrip allow 40 minutes.
Following hairpin turns, we knew that we were in the mountains but nothing could be seen in the fog. What a surprise on the next days return as we saw snow and glaciers on some peaks and surprising vistas such as house-size boulders along wide riverbeds and plunging valley's spread like a carpet below the road!
June 19, 2002
From journal Fjordland National Park, New Zealand