Down on the Farm, Over to the Hokonui Moonshine Museum, And Up The Mountain Pass Gore, New Zealand
We spent the night at a small converted barn on a sheep farm outside of Mosgiel, New Zealand. While the town itself is relatively unremarkable, this is our first chance to get up close and personal with one of the major inhabitants of New Zealand: sheep.
Down on the Farm
Agriculture is one of the primary industries in New Zealand. Lamb and mutton claim significant shelf space at local market places and every tourist town has at least one shop selling New Zealand merino wool products. So, it seems only appropriate to spend some time on a farm to learn more about this important cornerstone of our host country.
Our hosts are quite affable and welcome us to walk around the enclosure and interact with their skittish sheep and single, incredibly friendly young bull. While we have ground to cover, we take our time and enjoy a brief respite with the animals.
Hokonui Moonshine Museum
It is a long drive from our farm digs to our next stay outside of Milford Sound. To break up the drive, we stop at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum in Gore, New Zealand. Hokonui is the local term for whiskey made during New Zealand’s extensive period of prohibition.
While prohibition was never passed nationally there were dry regions all across the country. Most notably, the city of Invercargill was dry from 1907 to 1943. Like other areas with Prohibition, this spurred a thriving bootlegging industry, particularly in the Hokonui Hills just outside of Gore and close to Invercargill. Even today it has the most restrictive liquor buying laws. Grocery stores cannot even sell beer or wine.
The Hokonui Moonshine Museum highlights the historic context of prohibition, the rise of moonshining, and celebrates the figures who mastered the art of the still.
On to Milford Sound
After sampling the original old Hokonui recipe, we head down to Te Anau and Milford sound.
Even as we arrive in town, it’s a tossup whether we will visit Milford Sound or Doubtful in the morning. From what we read, the more expensive and time consuming option, Doubtful Sound, warrants it’s time and expense. But with a price tag twice the size of Milford as well as a swollen travel time, we, like most visitors, opt for Milford Sound.
Our only concern is snow levels on the mountain pass. Weather reports indicate that the snow should fall 100 feet above the highest elevation we will be driving tomorrow. Yet, 100 feet doesn’t feel like much of a buffer. We’ll find out if that was a good decision tomorrow.