Do the Routeburn: Check!
10 March 2013 | Te Anau
The Routeburn/Caples Track ended up being a great walk! Much better trail than previous ones we've done, but almost too good.... We had great weather and really enjoyed doing it with Richard. He was surpised at our gourmet meals and we were surprised that he could sustain himself on granola bars, sausage and gorp! We covered all the topics over the course of 4 days- boats, bucket lists, cruising plans, life history, religion, politics- and we're still friends!
We stayed in one hut the first night, which gave us a break from the bugs and luckily, there was only one other couple there (at that point we were on the Caples track) and then the other 3 nights we were at campgrounds. The Routeburn campgrounds were pretty fancy, including the one at Lake MacKenzie that actually had astro-turf for the tent sites and a broom to do a little housekeeping before you put your tent up! After the first night, we hardly noticed any bugs but it was pretty cold at after dark and no campfires allowed so we had some early nights.
The highter elevations of the trail were in alpine country and although it is technically autumn now, there were still fresh wildflowers blooming. Very beautiful. The mountains in Fiordland are steeper & more impressive than most of what we've seen in other parts of NZ and they stand out as some of the most beautiful we've seen anywhere. In contrast, the forests were incredibly green and lush- the mosses and understory so beautiful, you can see why they chose those areas for some of the Hobbit/Rings footage.
When we got out of the hike, we met up with Richard's wife Ali, had a big dinner together at the campground of what we'd been craving- steak & salmon among other things, then we all met up with Bob & Sue in Queenstown the next day. It was nice to be all together and we figured out we should all be together at the same time hauled out at Norsand Boatyard too, so that takes some of the dread out of hauling out! Evergreen is scheduled to be hauled April 4th if all goes well and we're planning to be back at the boat in Whangarei on the 1st to get ready.
In the meantime, we did the drive to Milford Sound yesterday- one of NZ's fiords and it was really beautiful. They say it rains nearly every day but we had a real sparkler. Actually, NZ is having a serious draught right now and we've benefitted greatly from it! We took a boat cruise out onto the sound which is the first truly touristy thing we've done but it was a small boat and we really enjoyed it. You can sail around to these parts but boy, it would be scary since the roaring 40's can bring terrible weather in minutes. Needless to say, there weren't any cruising boats there! We did a bunch of the little stops along the way and it was nice to just get in & out of the car looking at beautiful views and pretty little paths.
And this morning we booked the Kepler Trail, starting tomorrow. It is 60k and we plan to do it in 2 nights. We feel pressed for time but want to get in a couple more backpack trips before we have to put our stuff away for an unknown amount of time so might as well cram it in. Just wanted to give an update. We have been putting pics up but not so much on the blog itself- you can click through on an old one though and see the updates. We're getting quite a collection there!