Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Frolics in Fiordland

Hello again

Well I thought that as I am sitting here finally uploading my photo's on the internet, yes I know its been a VERY long time waiting, that I would update the blog.

Right so after Invercargill Steve and I got on the road finally to Fiordland National Park! I remember the drive along the southern scenic route clearly as it was a bloody windy day, strong enough to push the car onto the other side of the road! The first stop of our journey was to Lake Hauroko, the deepest in NZ. It was a stunning lake, deep blue in colour surrounded by thick forest for as far as the eye can see!

We thought that it would be a good idea to try our pack out with all of our gear in them as a tester for one of our multi day treks. All it really did was to let us know how hard and knackering it would be, and that was withought food in our packs! It was only a shor 1 1/2 hour walk up to bludd lookout but boy was it hard, sweating buckets all the way to the top! The views, however were amazing from the top.

Next stop was Lake Monowai camp site just 40 or so odd K's up the road, we stopped off on the way to fill up our water at a community centre and ended up playing rugby in their playing grounds for an hour or so. Lake Monowai was alright, too many midgies, sandflies or whatever you want to call them, little biting swines that leave an extremely itchy bite!

Next stop was Te Anau vie Lake Manapouri, the gateway to the Fiordlands. Passing through Te Anau we stopped off at the DOC visitor centre to see if the Multi Day Kepler Track was open, unfortunately it wasn't due to some dangerous snow conditions on some parts of the track. They did however suggest that we try another track called the Greenstone/ Caples track just a little further along the way. We thought that this would be a good idea and stopped for a night at a campsite on the way. Waking early the next morning we packed our bags in preparation for the walk and drove to the start.

Actually starting the walk was a bit of a shock as it began with a rather steep climb followed by another steeper climb through bog, heavily rooted ground and rather large boulders. The three days were alltogether rather enjoyable, hard but magnificent. We passed through ancient beech forest, wide open tussok grassland, alpine shrub, the lot. On the way we met some really nice people in the back country huts/ bovies that we stayed in.

After the three days of walking we headed north a little more towards Milford Sound and ended up sleeping in the car in a layby as there were no camp sites around. The next night we got up bloody early to get on the 08:50 am Milford Sound cruise wanting to miss all of the large crouds! It was a pretty cool boat with a good upper deck which Steve and I managed to get some prime seating on. The sound is absolutely amazing sheer rock walls up to 700m high and more, penguins, dolfins, seals, birds, avalanches, tree avalanches, hughe waterfalls, you name it its there, gobsmackingly beautiful place.

After finishing the tour we got on our way back towards Te Anau where I recouperated for the night before starting the Kepler track the next day. Te Anau itself is nothing special just a launching point really for the sounds and a lot of the local walks. Steve unfortunately could not come on the walk as his feet were shot to pieces from the other walk we did. I just had to do this particular part of the trip as it was on my list of top things to do in NZ. The walk itself started out much the same as the rest of the walks in Fiordland, through beech forest it was not until I climbed above the bush line that the beauty of this walk became apparent. The views were spectacular, right across Lake Te Anau and the mountains that make up the Southern Alps! The climb to the summit of Mt Luxmore was also pretty cool, not to high (1477m) but it did pass through some deep snow drifts. I stayed on the summit for a while just looking around and eating some rather nice cheese and crackers! On the way back down to the hut for the night I came across a German couple whom I had met only a few days before on the Greenstone Caples track which was a nice suprise. The night was spent playing cards and eating noodles! Waking early the next day I packed my things and headed down towards Luxmore cave to potter around for a bit before making my way down to the carpark to meet up with Steve.

After meeting with Steve we made our way to Queenstown for a few days of party before hitting Wanaka and the west coast.

I'll talk about Queensland and Wanaka in my next blog entry.