We took the bus from Zadar to Plitvic. Hardly a bus, more of a luxury coach. Many companies ply the route but we settled for local company, Prijevoz Knezevic. At the princely sum of AUS20 each way. Times vary from 3.5 hrs down to 1 hr 45. Depending on the route. The journey itself was fascinating. Leaving Zadar at a very humid 32 degrees, you have the almost barren, grey Karst mountains (Karst topography is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves, it also makes the mountains look like they have snow on them at a distance) – with some amazing views as you weave through them.
Many tunnels going through – the last to be finished in 2009 was the Sveti Rok Tunnel which is – 5679 metres long. Suddenly you are through the mountains and are confronted with lush greenery – forest covered hillsides and verdant valleys. Fantastic.
We were eventually dropped off at our stop in the middle of nowhere to find we had another cock up and the guy Nikola, who was meeting us was waiting two stops prior. He eventually arrived and we walked up a nice steep hill and – you guessed it – another million steps.
All of Plitvic Lakes are heritage listed as are all the chalets originally owned by the government. Currently each chalet has a manager/owner and they can renovate the insides (which have been done quite well) to rent out but the outside can only be done by the government and so are sadly in a state of disrepair.(Non government ones are modern and not heritage listed). There is one single ski lift (not working as this is July) and a HUGE supermarket down a few steps in this tranquil alpine setting.
The main attribute though is that you can walk downhill for five minutes and catch the bus train (looks like five mini buses joined together to make a train) and it leaves every 20 mins or so for the waterfalls. Ideally you need the 08:00 one to beat all the tourists.
We missed it by two minutes but still missed most of them. (The tourists, that is). We went all the way up to the top – very steep – but not scary as large and heavily treed. The walk from the top down was amazing – millions of waterfalls – boardwalks – Redfin fish swimming in the shallows – more of a tropical paradise than in mountainous Europe.
Then, it rained. For two hours. We quickly learned that the NZ pac-a – macs are only showerproof and cannot handle a deluge. We were all looking like drowned rats when we jumped on board the river boat and went the wrong way.
But no matter as we then fell into a burger joint in the park. Hot, huge meals, good value and above all – out of the rain. Back into the river boat to go further down lake for a short walk back home. Nope. Long, long walk back to the ski resort. Again, worn out, but a wonderful day. Next morning hopped back on the bus to Zadar. Going gently downhill we had a couple of women standing in the aisles yakking – we had seat belts on and they didn’t – and slowly approached one of the toll gates when suddenly the driver slammed on the brakes, released them and slammed them on again. The front passenger – about 50 male – catapulted into the windscreen, shattering it and the two women slammed into him a millisecond later so he had a double banger. We had to change bus and sadly the man was cut and bruised and concussed – but alive – and waited for the ambulance. Karin had booked into an airport hotel for the night so we stayed with her for a couple of hours relaxing before the flight to Stanstead, Surrey in the afternoon.
Flight over the Alps – amazing view.
Had ad to put these pics in to remind us that Mike/Karen and Darryl/Jules with their families and Dust, all shot off on holiday at the same time. The former to South Africa – Kruger – on safari and the latter to New South Wales – Mt Hotham – skiing.