What is your definition of an exceptional trip? Faultless organization, clean, comfortable accommodation and transport, diverse itinerary, great food and hospitality with friendly, entertaining company and an excellent Tour Manager.  With Gail Scrivener as leader, the Misty Mountain tour had it all.
Travelling to Dunedin, Invercargill and TeAnau with gardens to visit and nurseries to tempt us, the highlight of the tour was Doubtful Sound.

Sailing across Lake Manapouri to the Power Station, by bus over the Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound, we boarded The Navigator, home for the next 24 hours and set sail up the Sound. Blue sky, water like glass and no wind, simply perfect. The majesty of the sheer cliffs rising out of the water, covered in forestation with very little to grow on was breathtaking, matched only by the reflections in the water. A lighter boat took us to the cliff edge to see native flora up close…magic.

On board again we headed to the Tasman, seeing little yellow-crested penguins pretending to be dolphins in the water and seals silhouetted against the sunset on the outer islands before returning into Hall Arm for dinner and bed. Next morning, we sailed to the end of Hall Arm where we were asked to turn off our phones, take no photos and not to move. All the engines stopped too…  our senses were captivated by the silence then the bird song that followed. A truly spiritual moment which we all regretted ending.

I could tell so much more about this trip, but I have run out of space.  If you haven’t been to Doubtful, it is a MUST on your bucket list.

Elizabeth Peacock
President, Canterbury Horticultural Society