Saturday, 30 July 2016

Te Anau

We made our way back to Te Anau and waited for another good window in the weather. In the mean time we took in the hills surrounding Te Anau with a Horse trek.

A small river that feeds into Lake Te Anau.

It had some lively trout in it, beautiful markings on this one.

Cheese ;)

Getting behind the wheel (very briefly) on a Lake ferry.

 A boat plane on Te Anau lake.

Moody sky over the township

A stunning back country river.

Mesmerising water quality.

Into a fish that knew exactly where to go when hooked, straight into the underwater log snag and then off.

An inquisitive bush robin.

Our camp site.

Have to find out what this fella is actually called, also inquisitive.

Good fish this, please don't go into that maze of rocks!

The best fish of the trip, it was tricky and a very testing river, mainly due to the unbelievable water clarity. The fly line landing on the water would create the usual slight ripple but this ripple turned into a stark reverberating shadow moving across the pool with the bright sun. A major trout spooker!

Celebrating St. Patrick's day in the backcountry. Cheers!

The next mornings sky.

The weather broke the next day, misty and moody. 

Paradise found?

We were invited to stay with some local Kiwi's who were hunting on the same river. We were only delighted to get a place to rest our heads in a house and not a van. They have a pretty enviable view over Te Anau and the surrounding hills. Such a generous couple and Kiwi hospitality at its very best.

The Fiordland area reminded us of being back home, mainly because of the cold ;) but also the people of the area and its character. But we can't settle anywhere yet, still the West coast to see. onwards!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Fiordland - Hollyford track and Milford Sound

We had been watching the weather forecast eagerly since arriving in Southland as we were planning some tramps into the Hollyford valley and the Milford area. Waves of heavy rain systems had come and gone and we decided it was time to go for it. Rain was due near the end of the week so we planned to hike and hopefully fish the Hollyford river firstly. 

The Eglinton Valley on the road to Milford Sound

The Mirror lakes

Elevated view of the Hollyford River and its valley.

On the road to Milford Sound

Homer's Tunnel, cut through the mountain.

It was an experience, like going through a rock water slide.

Our camp site, Gunn's camp, steeped in history from the founding settlers to the area who opened up the Hollyford track for tramping adventure.

The Hollyford river beside Gunn's camp looking pleasant, it would change drastically over the next 24 hours.

The camp was quaint with lots to see and keep you occupied. Electricity ran off a diesel generator from 7-10pm every day. This place is off the grid, no efpos here (visa card), no cold hard cash means no sale.

The butt of many a joke.

Our hot water source, best campsite shower ever!

The camp and adjoining museum

We woke to a thunder storm early morning with a flooding camp site and river!

The road from Te Anau to Milford sound was closed due to tree falls but we could continue on our hike along the Hollyford. Although Fiordland is a beautiful place to see in fair weather it is mesmerising in the rain. The mountain tops come alive with flowing water.

A bridge over a raging Hollyford river. Some of the later photos will show this same bridge a day later.

Waterfalls appearing on the hill tops, most of these will burn out to a trickle after the rain has stopped.

The start of the Hollyford track, note the angry water colour.

Dry fly's packed away for this trip!

The track is well laid out, superb hike this one.

Some snow capping.

Hidden falls hut, one of the finest in Fiordland, I've been told.

You can just about make out Orion as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

The night sky in remote places like this is just breathtaking, my prime lens would have done a far better job but even a point and shoot lens produced some great results with a tripod. This is the milky way over the Hidden falls hut.

Next morning the river is already cleaning. this is a tributary river of the Hollyford.

Some Kiwi engineering ;)

A dropped and cleaner river when pulling out. I threw a line but I was enjoying the hike and scenery more in this valley.

The DOC signpost all their marked out tracks giving distances and approx times to complete them. Its a superb organisation that does immense work for the environment.

The same river and bridge photo from the previous day.

We made our way up to Milford Sound that night, again, breath taking scenery.

This guy woke us early morning, very inquisitive and very bold! 


We took a cruise ferry into the Sound itself that morning. It didn't disappoint, the light and water quality was poor from the weather but we still got some great views.

Bottle nosed dolphins coming to play in the surf of the boat.

These are huge dolphins, they surfed and jumped right in the boats wake next to us.

Ann took this one on her phone, it outshone the hundreds of pictures I took!

Camera is on overdrive on this trip :)

Falls into the Sound.

Looking back into the sound from the open ocean.

Mitre peak, named by the early European settlers as it resembled a Bishop's mitre (hat), the Maori people call it Rahotu.

The plane might give you a scale of the height of these mountains.

This river powers the Milford sound region with electricity, as well as looking beautiful.

Nearly missed this shot while leaving the sound.

And so we left Milford and Hollyford but still wanting to see more and more. Hard to put into words how beautiful this part of New Zealand is. Almost spiritual, you just have to see it if you come to this country. We made our way back to Te Anau and started planning the next stage of our journey.