Wilmot Pass Road and Manapouri Power Station – Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s South Island - One of Sam’s Exotic Travels
First commissioned in 1969, the Manapouri Power Station is an impressive engineering feat. Defying the harsh Fiordland conditions, the power station and its tailrace discharge tunnels were blasted out of solid granite rock deep beneath the Fiordland Mountains. Unlike many power stations, Manapouri does not rely on a high dam to provide water - it takes advantage of the natural 178-metre height difference between Lake Manapouri and the sea at Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound. The Wilmot Pass Road was built to aid in the construction of the power station so that supplies could be trucked over the Main Divide. It took two years for the road to be carved out of mountain and bush (from 1963 to 1965), with a length of approx. 20 Km and the highest point of the Pass being 2100 feet.
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