Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Day 3: Hollyford Track, Martins Bay to Milford Sound

Early morning...
Down to the river to board the jet boat

...to zip along the calm Hollyford River

where the reflections were stunning.

Pingao stablising the sand dunes.

Some Australian eucalyptus migrants.

Cameron and Justin, our excellent guides for the hike.

Orchids near the McKenzie homestead site.

Back to the Martins Bay lodge for lunch -  filled fresh bread rolls and fresh fruit and homemade chocolate biscuits.
Fond farewells to Joy and Murray and then...

All aboard the helicopter...
Bird's eye views of where we walked along the sand spit in the morning.
...and into Milford Sound.

Mitre Peak at Milford Sound

Cheeky Kea at Homer Tunnel.
Waiting for food.. or a chance to tear off the windscreen wipers
Unsuspecting drivers, oblivious.

The Hollyford River near the Homer tunnel. 
So clear...

Majestic glacial U shaped valley.

A grand finale to a magnificent three day hike.

During this walk I have seen the forest with 'new' eyes

I am ever so grateful to everyone in the  Hollyford Track team.
They offered a seamless and very enjoyable experience
Well-paced hiking, excellent guides, plenty of information along the way,
Warm welcomes at Pyke and Martins Bay Lodges.
Wonderful food and beverages
Very comfortable jet boat, helicopter and bus rides, too.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Day 2: Hollyford Track. Pyke River, Lake Alabaster, Lake McKerrow to Martins Bay

Day two on the Hollyford Track  includes 15 kms hiking  nicely interspersed with jetboat rides and opportunities to learn more about the history and biology of the valley.
Walking along the beautifully maintained track...

to  tranquil Lake Alabaster.

Return to the start of the Demon Trail...
The Demon Trail is a character forming scramble over tree trunks and huge rock falls. 
I have done it once...
I know what I am missing.
This is just the start of the Demon Trail.
Plenty of moss covered rocks.
Scrambling up tree roots, over fallen trees, up and over huge rocks...
all the while back then I was hoping that the track would improve.

This time ...

...Back over the swing bridge to the track to the Pyke River lodge
Tree ferns wearing their skirts. They are the female of the species.

Justin plies us with stories about Davie Gunn and the Gunn family.
Passionate pioneers in the Hollyford Valley.
Farewell to the luxe Pyke River Lodge.
Onto the jet boat and a quick ride down the Hollyford River to glassy-surfaced Lake McKerrow

See the three-wire bridge...
There are lots of these on the Demon trail.
I crossed these back when we walked the Demon trail...
I had been to a circus and watched how trapeze artists walked the high wire...
That helped me with technique.

Demon Trail hut.
I remember the sheer delight and relief when this hut came into view a few years ago.
This time we roar past in a jet boat.
Lake McKerrow

All ashore at the site of Jamestown - a failed property development in the 1870's
Further along the lake we go ashore and walk to Martins Bay.
Huge podocarps watch over us.

We walk through stands of Podocarp forest.
Matai, Kamahi, Miro, Totara and Rimu tower above us.
These ancient conifers are species whose origins stem back to when NZ was part of Gondwana land

Mosses, worts, ferns and podocarp seedlings coexist on this tree branch.

Kidney ferns are abundant.

Tree roots abound along the track at Martins Bay...
...near the mouth of the Hollyford river...
The Martins Bay DOC hut - once upon a time we stayed here.
The Hollyford river enters the Tasman Sea.   The sand bar and shallow entrance were a major barrier to the development of Jamestown in the mid 1800's.
Ships foundered.
Off to spy on the seals.
The tide was out and many seals had gone to sea.
Some mothers and pups were lounging about in the sun.

Return to Martins Bay  Lodge.
A splendid sunset
A splendid meal of blue cod.
A splendid day on the track.