Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Otago, Southland, Fiordland (New Zealand)

Lake Marian + Hollyford Camp

After our Milford Sound cruise we met up with Murielle, who had had an ok time kayaking, though it had been a bit wussy for her. We stopped at Milford Lodge to buy some milk and access the Internet (I sent off a second cyberpostcard). I also got in a bit of battery charging.


the Chasm
We stopped for half an hour to do the Chasm walk, which is a wheel-chair accessible stroll to where a waterfall has cut deep into the rock, leaving pretty patterns. Then we drove back through the Homer Tunnel to the Hollyford Valley. I was driving this time and it was pretty scary in the mist, steering between the tunnel wall and the oncoming traffic with no lighting, just reflectors shining in the headlights. We stopped at the other end to watch the people watching the kea.

The start of the Lake Marian walk is a little way down the Hollyford Road, just off the main Milford Road. We started around 2.30, but I felt like stretching my legs so I went on ahead of the others, pushing myself up the hill. At the top we took turns taking timer shots and swapped photo-taking with an Israeli couple.


Lake Marian

taking a nap at Lake Marian

the creek below Lake Marian

It was slower going down, because of Murielle's knee, but we reached Hollyford Camp around 7.30. I bought insect repellent - Murray made fun of the citronella stuff I'd bought from DOC - and Andrea, the caretaker, kindly charged my camera battery in her flat. (The cabins have electric lights but no other power.)

Hollyford Camp is 8km off the Te Anau-Milford Road. It has been run by local legend Murray Gunn since 1955 and is also known as Gunn's Camp.

As of February 2003, cabins were $18/$27 +$6/person. The cabins are comfy, with wood/coal stoves, a table and chairs in a central room and two sleeping rooms at either end. There is no linen, however, and no cooking utensils. A central block has hot showers and toilets.

There's a small shop that sells basic stuff - tramping supplies, books, even petrol (though don't count on that) - and Murray's museum has some fascinating local history items. And scattered arund the camp there are puns and jokes and quirky objects, from a magic mushroom stool circle to a drying line with pieces of toast.


Hollyford Camp (in the morning)

cabin at Hollyford Camp

Hollyford River

Meanwhile Camilla had chopped some kindling. She tried to get the coal stove going without luck [stove 1, humans 0], but I managed [stove 1, humans 1], and Murielle boiled a pot of water on it [stove 1, humans 2] before it got too smoky [stove 2, humans 2] and we reverted to using my gas stove. (The smoke did, however keep the sandflies down, which made the score there sandflies 100, humans 1.) Our dinner was couscous with mince and peas.

A German couple, Samantha and Tobias, who we'd met doing the Kepler Track, were also at Hollyford Camp, and they joined us after dinner and we stayed up talking until 12.30am. They both worked in IT, but were WWOOFing - staying in New Zealand on a "willing workers on organic farms" program. The lights were supposed to go out at 10pm, when the generator stopped, but they stayed on later - we thought because Murray was watching television with some guests. We had a good supply of candles anyway.

Thursday 13th February

We had cornflakes and left over couscous for breakfast, visited the museum, photographed some of the camp, and didn't set off for Gertrude Saddle till 11.30.

Next: Gertrude Saddle + Key Summit
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