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I had never been to Fiordland before. I guess it is pushing it a bit to call Te Anau township ``Fiordland'', but it is the gateway to it, and that's good enough for me. Anyway, I was looking at Fiordland across the lake.
What a lovely, magical town Te Anau is. The alpine chill in the air, so clean - no evidence of graffiti or litter, and that wonderful walkway along the lake edge.
The place wasn't exactly crowded at the weekend. I wandered in the dark along the lake path and bumped into less than half a dozen others. There was a bitter wind blowing from the west.
The place was quiet but for the flax leaves' sabre-rattling in the breeze, the high-pitched hissing of the tussocks rippling and the waves burbling soothingly as they broke on the beach. Then came a ``boom'' which made me jump - presumably Fiordland now had one deer less. Do hunters go out at night?
I hesitate to say this, as comparisons always sound rather patronising. But it almost reminded me of Queenstown when I first visited in the mid-1970s. Or Hanmer Springs perhaps 30 years ago.
Te Anau, you were brilliant and I look forward to coming back again soon, for longer.
Talking of tourists ...
Having just engaged in some blatant tourism myself, I have to be a little wary of comments I might make about tourists and out-of-control development.
However, Lynda Crossen , formerly of Frankton and now of Timaru, has emailed with her thoughts about of the way things are going.
``I am surprised that no-one else has commented on the World Focus article in the ODT on August 6 (page 17) entitled `Overtourism an increasing burden worldwide'.
``I think this applies to Central Otago and Queenstown.
``The area is now farming tourists, at the expense of the scenery and the food-growing land.''
Acts of kindness
I'm still keen to hear from you on this subject. It would be a depressing prospect indeed if there were none of these to report from anywhere in the South.
However, June Turnbull was taken by something she saw in Dunedin recently.
``While waiting at the bus stop by the Kensington overbridge late the week before last, we saw a young woman armed with a large plastic bag picking up rubbish in the area. What a wonderful, caring thing to do.
``But then I noticed just last week a cigarette packet and a disposable coffee cup left in the bus shelter, but of course there is no rubbish bin within cooee. Even if there was one, would the litter louts bother to use it, do you think?''
Probably not, June.
I've never really noticed a lack of bins around Dunedin but, tying in with the overtourism concern, I wonder if there should be more at rest areas and other beauty spots around the region.
The thing is, though, would more bins actually deter littering? Or just discourage responsible people from taking their rubbish with them when they go? Overflowing bins are an eyesore too.
What do you think about all this rubbish? I'm talking about litter, not this column (although feedback on that is also welcome, if I'm in the right mood). Let me know.