Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Zealand Road Trip - December 10, 2007 (7)

December 10

If you go to this link, you will find a map of Fiordland for a bit of perspective on our few days spent there. Also, I will point out that Fiordland is a World Heritage Area.

Manapouri Lake, Doubtful Sound and the Manapouri Power Station

Manapouri is about 30 minutes south of Te Anau. This is where the tour of Manapouri Lake, Doubtful Sound and the Manapouri Power Station begins and this is where we began our day. It was a LONG day!

First a bit of wildlife.

Fish in water by boats.


Duck standing on chain in water by boats.

The boat at the centre back is the one we got on.

Down the gangplank!

The cruise/tour begins at Manapouri Lake. The boat took us across the lake. Following are a few pix of the lake.

On the other side of the lake, we came to the Manapouri Power Station. We didn't tour it until our return trip, but this is to put it in context.

We got off the boat and on a bus, which drove us over the mountains to the inland end of Doubtful Sound. Driving pix:

At the end of the drive, we got on another boat and started our cruise of Doubtful Sound. You can see that in crossing to the Sound through the mountains, we also crossed the mountain divide and the weather changed. From the divide on, it was seriously overcast, often rainy and of course windy out on the water. My raincoat came in handy again! These are Doubtful Sound pix:

Fiordland Crested Penguins. Fishing shack. Crayfish pots are stacked up behind but they don't show up in the pix.

Here we are getting to open water. It was pretty cold, windy, rainy.

Fur seals.

Heading back inland.
We got off the boat, on the bus, drove back over the mountains to Manapouri Lake and - wait for it!


Remember the little chat about Bluff and the aluminum smelter on the Dec. 8 posting? Well, this is where the power for that smelter comes from.

This sign was on the Te Anau Lake beach and it explains that the power station uses the gradient from Te Anau Lake to Manapouri Lake to generate power. There is no dam. They constructed a tunnel system between the lakes and then the ocean (Doubtful Sound). The only part of the facility that you can see is what is shown in the pix below. Everything else is underground. I'm not an engineer, but I think this is pretty impressive. Check out the Manapouri Power Station website for more details.

We were told that 70% of the power generated here is used by the aluminum smelter in Bluff.

In a year of normal rainfall, approximately 70% of New Zealand’s generation is produced by hydro, 25% from thermal, with the rest coming from geothermal, wind
and biogas.
from http://www.trustpower.co.nz/Investors/NewZealandElectricityIndustry.aspx#ElectricityGenerationNZ
Discharge tunnel on Doubtful Sound side.

The above ground exterior (Manapouri Lake).
We were driven down to the plant inside the mountain.

Turbines. Note the rock walls - it's down inside the mountain.
Leaving the power station back on Manapouri Lake for our return to Manapouri, then on to our motel - pretty tired after a long day!

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