Published: November 7th 2011October 28th 2011
On our way to Hollyford we stopped off in Te Anau for hut passes from the department of conservation (DOC). There was a severe avalanche on a major part of the Routeburn track making it unsafe and impassable for walkers - although this was disappointing there were many other hikes available and a small group of Flying Kiwi passengers decided on the Greenstone to Caples walk. As the guides helped them organise hut passes, camping gear (for use in emergencies) and snacks or the trip the rest of us took a short walk around the lake and pondered on activities for the forthcoming days.
We stopped for a picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Manapouri before arriving for a taste of the real New Zealand at the Davy Gunn camp at Hollyford. We all upgraded to the snug and rustic cabins. The small, wooden structures were built to house workers on the Homer tunnel 60 years ago, each had a cosy coal fired stove. It was fascinating to discover about the harsh lifestyles these people endured, to see the tiny tools they used to chip and carve through a mountain, to find out about loaner Davy Gunn, his solo cattle herding existance and brave missions. We sat in the communal area in front of a glowing fire and drank wine we'd bought from our Mudhouse wine tasting tour.
After dinner Brett took us on a tour of the bush in search of glow worms. With the sound of owls screeching we wandered through the pitch black - my torch seeming rather feeble in penetrating the darkness. Sure enough a short walk off the main track we crouched down to an illumination of white dots hidden under a fallen tree. Further into the walk Brett pointed out New Zealand native trees and the environment the kiwi birds loved to live amongst.