Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas holidays 2012 - part three

This post will cover off our time on the Milford Track. We were booked in to start the track on the 19th December and finishing on the 23rd. The weather forecast was looking decidedly iffy so I resigned myself to spending four days of walking in rain. The day we started the weather was brilliant so we drove to Te Anau Downs and caught the boat to the beginning of the track.

On the boat from Te Anau Downs.

The first day of the Milford is super-short - only an hour to get to Clinton Hut from Glade Wharf. The walk is all flat and mostly in the bush. We had a very brief swim in the Clinton River - brief because it was icy cold and the sandflies were rampant!

That night it rained pretty heavily and it was still a little drizzly the next day. We set out with jackets on etc but were able to dispense with those after a while and the day turned out just right for walking. The positive aspect of the overnight rain is that it kicked a lot of waterfalls into action. At first the waterfalls provided excitement but after the first 20 or so they all looked a little the same. Anyway, the day's walking was pretty cruisy and the scenery was fantastic.

Some cool looking fungi

Clinton River

The second night is spent at Mintaro Hut which is about 6 hours walk from Clinton Hut. We arrived at the hut, dumped our gear and headed up to Lake Mintaro for another very brief swim. Very refreshing! The keas cause quite an issue at Mintaro Hut. The hut has a policy that boots are not to be brought inside but the presence of keas there means you need to tie your boots together and then suspend them from a hook. This stops then ripping them to shreds in the night. All other gear must be brought into the hut to prevent damage.

The next day was the most strenuous of the walk (but was still pretty easy going) as you walk up to the top of Mackinnon Pass and then down the other side to Dumpling Hut. It's a 6-7 hour walk. The weather started out a little grey but improved through the day.

View at the top of Mackinnon Pass

Tarn on Mackinnon Pass

View on the way down from Mackinnon Pass

The photo below is of the Sutherland Falls. There is a side track that takes you closer to the falls but a slip that occurred last October has closed that track for the season. You can see the slip in the foreground. There is a still an area of loose rock near the top that DOC thinks could fall at any time. 

Our last day on the track was a gorgeous day. We made an early start to catch the first boat to Milford but had plenty of time for the walk, to stop and take photos, have a lunch break and then a swim at the end.

Arthur River

The end!

This is the slip that blocked the road out of Milford last year. They are still working on stabilising and clearing the slip. The road gets closed every night at present and also when it rains heavily.

Phew. What a long post. And tons of photos. There are still two more weeks of our holiday to cover so a few more posts to come.

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