Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Day 106. Taipo Hut to Mararoa River.

Today 38.5 km. Total 2734 km. 10 hours 35 minutes (0750-1825).

I woke to my alarm at 0630 but it was cold and outside quite dark so I snoozed for another half hour before leaving my cozy sleeping bag.  I was first out at 0750 and walked briskly to warm up. It was a cloudless day with no wind but cold in the shade.

The first 2 km were flat and followed a single track and then old vehicle track. From there the track moved up to the hill and undulated along in tussock and swamp. I took sime time preparing the 2700 km marker and just as I finished Chelsea arrived and she took photos for me. She left and the other two arrived as I was eating a snack.

Where does the money go to make it go around

First Swingbridge of the day


Dew pretty in the sun

There is the sun. Full steam ahead to reach it

Relief, warmth with the sun

Staying high

Unnamed Tarn

Interesting rock. The track goes just to the right of it

2700 km

After another hour of the hill the track dropped into the flat and a vehicle track for a couple of hundred meters.  There were two black helicopters flying around and eventually they landed by the river so I assumed that they were rich Anglers after trout.

The track cut across an old river bed and a swamp before joining another vehicle track which I stayed on until a fence with a very high stile. Luckily someone had put a rock as a step up to the stile. From here I saw 3 Anglers in the river presumably from the helicopter.   Now it was back to single track for a few hundred metres and then 20 meters through tussock that was over head height and knitted together making progress difficult to a Swingbridge.  Boundary Hut was a hundred meters away and I filled in the hut book.  It took 3 hours and 10 minutes to get there. I was going to eat a pre lunch snack there but it smelt of urine. I suspect guys too lazy to walk the 10 meters to the toilet at night just going off the deck. I decided to move on instead. Chelsea did not come to the hut so was now ahead of me.

Chelsea crossing dried stream bed

Chelsea at a stream crossing

Long and flat but beautiful

Rich Anglers who arrived by helicopter

My view of the track through the tussock.  There is a marker just in sight

Crossing to Boundary Hut

Chelsea about to enter the tall tussock

Boundary Hut

Now it was on vehicle tracks so fast travel except when having to avoid the large pools on the track. I made good time and caught up to Chelsea at an unmarked junction.  We continued straight ahead which involved a climb above Lake Mavora which was now in sight.

We started chatting and kept walking together.  Chelsea was walking a good pace on the road so I was happy for the company.  We arrived at Careys Hut in 1 hour 15 minutes. The hut was right on the lake edge but the grass was wet and I didn't want to have lunch in the hut so we continued until finding a nice shady spot by the lake.  I was having luxury lunch with such a short section so I had some quiche,  a savoury scone and a toffee and almond pinwheel.  Lovely.

We continued on and though the track alternated between loose pebbles at the lake shore and short sections through the bush once at the bush line we still made good time to the Mavora Campground.  Here Chelsea stayed to get a ride to Te Anau.

Lake Mavora

Chelsea at Lake Mavora

Cassey Hut

Fast vehicle track

A few puddles to avoid

The road continues beside the Lake

I continued past the campers to the start of the South Mavora Lake trail. I had to cross the Swingbridge but there was a guy on it. He looked over and saw me but just stayed standing in the middle.  After a couple of minutes I had to ask him to move so I could cross.  He walked my side and asked about what I was doing.  It was a weird conversion.  He asked me three times where I was staying tonight throughout the conversation. I gave my standard reply of "I am not sure, it depends how I am feeling how far I go".  The other thing he found confusing was me being by myself but talking about we when refering to the trail. The conversarion went "are you doing this by yourself" "yes but other people are doing the same trail""so you are walking with other people" "no I am walking by myself but I am following a standard route that other people also follow" "so you walk with other people" " no I am walking by myself". I tried to extract myself a couple of times but he kept following asking more questions. Finally I had to be a little rude to get on my way.

Lake Mavora from the south

The swingbridge of the strange man

The view from the middle of the Swingbridge

The track was a fantastic and fast track through beech trees. It was a wide clear track and flat. There were a couple of bits in the open which were a bit wet but overall a great track. The only bad thing was how silent the forest was which is not a good sign for healthy bird populations. At the bottom of the lake I expected the track to deteriorate but other than getting slightly narrower it was great. Three anglers were coming back up the track but I didn't see any fish so I will be kind and say they were doing catch and release.

Track to Lake Mavora South

Lake Mavora South

Lake Mavora South from the south

The perfect track

I continued on the track for another hour and a half then found a fantastic campsite on the top of a cliff overlooking the river going around a bend, bush and mountains in the distance.  I am on thick even moss which is very comfortable.  As well as the main river to my front there is a big stream in a gully to my right so I have the roar of water one way and the gushing water another. It was lovely watching the sky change colour as the sun went down.

Night 106. My favourite campsite

So good here it is from another angle

And what I see from inside my tent


  1. Glad you got away from the dodgy guy and found a great camp site.

  2. I got more of a feeling that he was a little slow as opposed to creepy but I wasn't taking any chances.