We were excited to go through the Homer Tunnel. Around eight years ago, we read a book titled Below the Mountains, about digging this tunnel, and have wanted to see it ever since. It is about 1.2 km long, and was blasted out of solid rock. It goes down at a 1 in 10 gradient. It is only one lane wide, so there are lights at each end. At times, people have to wait up to 20 minutes to go through. We only had to wait about a minute and a half—just long enough to get out, stretch, say hello to the kea who was keeping an eye on the traffic, and jump back in.
The mountains surrounding the south side of the tunnel are incredible! As far as we could see through the mist and rain, there was roughly a horseshoe of cliffs going straight up, with waterfalls coming down here and there.
On the north end, toward Milford Sound, the road goes down sharply in a series of switchbacks. The tunnel is at around 900 meters above sea level, and it takes only 15 minutes to get to the sound! That is a fast descent.
We climbed to an overlook above the township, and were rewarded with this view.
I was fascinated with the plants growing out of the cliff.
The next post will show what we experienced on our way back to Te Anau. So much spectacular scenery! It about overloaded me.