Thursday, 30 January 2014

Routeburn Track Blog

The Routeburn Track is very different to the Milford Track - much more alpine with a lot more walking above the treeline.  There's less of an aura about it, and it is busier, but it is also incredibly spectacular.  We have been so blessed with good weather - for our walk we had the first 3 consecutive sunny days all season apparently.

Day 1 - The Divide to Lake Mackenzie Lodge

One of the lakes on Key Summit, about an hour in to the track.

Lake Marian, seen from Key Summit

Earland Falls

'The Orchard' section of the walk.  A land slip had cleared the land, and these trees were first to grow back.

The Hollyford Valley, seen from the track.

Arriving at our lodge by Lake Mackenzie.  What is James wearing?

Lake Mackenzie as dusk fell.

Day 2: Lake Mackenzie lodge to Routeburn Falls Lodge
A misty start at Lake Mackenzie

Getting above the treeline as the early morning cloud cleared.

The steep side to the path.

James at Ocean Peak Corner.

The path again overlooking the Hollyford Valley.

Some of our party on Conical Hill - an optional summit just after lunch.

The lunch huts and our path ahead, seen from the path to conical hill.

Lake Harris

Looking towards the Routeburn Valley.

The Routeburn Valley.  Can you spot our lodge?

The view from our room.  There was a stream underneath the building.

The view reflected in our bedroom window.

Pancake catching is a tradition at Routeburn Falls Lodge.  This is Art and Joan in action.

Day 3 - Routeburn Falls Lodge to Road End
The Routeburn Valley seen from the site of a big landslip.

The Routeburn itself

Some of our group having lunch at Ford Flats

The view at lunch

Some crazy people going canyoning.

Not long after that, we reached the end of the track.  We all went to the pub for 'chups', which was fun.  It was sad to say goodbye to everyone and realise that our New Zealand adventure is coming to a close.  Since then we have eaten a lot of Italian food in Queenstown, were looked after brilliantly in a lovely B&B, and sat on a plane to Auckland.  

Thanks for reading this blog.  See you all soon!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Milford Track Blog

The Milford Track is utterly as good as the hype. Rather than write a full five day blow by blow account here is a bunch of photographs, organised by day, with the occasional helpful caption. Enjoy!

Day 1:
After a long coach trip and boat trip we arrived at the start of the track in the rain

After a very short walk we arrived at our lodge for the night.  The sun came out later.

Day 2:

A misty cloudy day, but the cloud was still high enough to get glimpses of the peaks.

New Zealand Robin

Amazing temperate rainforest

A board walk optional side trip across some wetlands

We came out of the forest for a bit where there had been a big land slip a number of years ago

The Clinton River valley
Day 3:
After a crazily early start we began to climb...

The cirque at the head of the Clinton River Valley

Climbing up and up

One of the lakes at the top of the McKinnon Pass

The Kea - these will steal your lunch, even if it is zipped up in your bag

A panorama on top - it really was a loo with a view.

Steps on the route down

The Sutherland Falls - the reason the track was made in the first place.

Day 4:
More incredible rainforest

The boat shed - a morning drinks refuge from the sandflies

The Arthur River Valley

The four Japanese ladies in our party, complete with nets. 

Mixed feelings at the last mile marker

Our boat to Milford Sound at the end of the walk

Mitre Peak Lodge - our final resting place.

Mitre Peak and Milford Sound.  Mitre Peak is the one that looks a tiny bit like a bishop's mitre.  Apparently.

Helen made it.  So did James - he took the photo.

Day 5:  The morning boat cruise on Milford Sound - our reward for finishing!

Next, The Routeburn Track. We will be offline again for a few days.