Many years ago, as a child, I was lucky enough to go on a tour of a hydro electric power station. It was brilliant and extensive. As we were in Manapouri I wanted my children to have the same opportunity and so we took the Manapouri Power station tour, NZ's biggest HEP plant. The tour shares the boat out to the power station with those going and then returning from the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise. When we arrived at the other side of the lake the Doubtful Sound tourists were met and whisked off to their excursion. We waited for 20 minutes or so before our bus arrived and then it took us up to the entrance of the spiral tunnel that goes down to the underground power station. The journey down is around 5-10 minutes. we then parked and walked a short distance to a viewing platform in the generator hall and we received a brief overview of the history and operation of the power plant - 5-10 minutes maximum and we then could look at presentations on the wall and mill around asking questions for another few minutes before returning to and alighting to the coach to exit the tunnel. We then took a windy ride to the top of the hill and got a quick view of Doubtful Sound (the highlight of the day) and returned to the wharf to take the next boat back to Manapouri. The whole thing took around half a day but only a few minutes were in or of any value in the power station. Doubtful Sound looked amazing and I would like to do that trip next time but i was left with the feeling that the Power Plant trip was a bit of an add on that subsidised the Doubtful Sound trip costs - for me a big disappointment and a waste of money.
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