Monday, 31 August 2009

Fiordland Trip

The Crew 
Brian, B-rain, Simon, Andrew, Dylan, Dale, Rachel, Daniel, Monique, Kerri, 
Marc, Laura, John, Neville, Ellen, David, Douglas 

Day 1 - The Long Drive South 
On the first day we drove the long drive from Christchurch to Te Anau. Cookie 
Time, Lake Tekapo, Ferg and Cheese Factory all getting visits along the way. 
After tasting some wine and cheese we stopped in at Nevis Bluff for a look 
and got suitably scared off kayaking! My car, known to many as Big Brown, 
unfortunatly started “Playing Up” on this last stretch. I lost my speedometer, 
my odometer and all but fourth gear. Anyhow a bit more driving and we finally 
made it to Te Anau. After a few beers we wandered down to the Lake for a star 

Day 2 - Mavora 
As fog greets us on Monday morning we were a little worried as it was supposed 
to be the best day weather wise. We need not have worried however as we left 
Te Anau and the blue skies opened up for us. We took everyone out to the lake 
for a quick session then set off down the easy grade 2 river between the North 
and South Mavora lakes. We had a nice run, everyone finding their water legs 
and getting used to being back in a boat. 
After running back up for the cars and drying off, we set off down to the 
bottom of the South Mavora Lake. At this point the beginners went for a flat 
water paddle practising paddling strokes and T-Rescues while the others went 
for a paddle down the Gorge section of the Mararoa river. This section was 
mostely grade 2 but had a few nice grade 3 drops that made everyone grin. And 
a wee swim that turned into cutting a throw bag that had got wedged under a 
sieve during boat retrieval. After the gorge, there was a bit of a bony scrape 
down to the Kiwi Burn swingbridge where we met up with the others. Cue the 
lying in the sun! Life sure is hard! 

Day 3 - Falls Creek 
This was our play tourist day, we drove into Milford Sound. Somehow we were 
destined to lose another car, as Andrews broke down not far out of Te Anau. 
Along the way we stopped at the Englinton river, and falls creek for a quick 
scout. Also we stopped at the mirror lakes, the chasm and Homer hut. Once 
we got to Milford we jumped the no entry gate to the water fall track, ignored 
several warning signs and went and stood right infront of a waterfall in the 
middle of a torrential downpour. No prized for guessing that we got pretty 
soaked at this point, even with lots of waterproof gear on! After warming up at 
the cafe in Milford we headed back to the Hollyford to hit up my favorite run - 
Falls Creek! I’m not going to lie, it was a bit bigger than usual and the main 
drop just looked silly. A huge side current pushing all the river straight into an 
undercut rock. Now I knew that the rock did flush out - having been upside 
down against the rock in the past.... but I was in no hurry to demonstraight 
again so decided to portage it this time. B-Rain and Neville both did the exact 
line we talked about when looking at it - that is off the drop then disappear 
into the undercut and hope! Obviously they both came out... but still not my 
idea of a good line. The rest of the river was at an ideal flow however, and if 
it wasn’t for the cold and rain and rapidly approaching darkness we could have 
all stayed there for a lot longer. 

Day 4 - Guns Camp 
Back towards Milford - this time down to Gunns camp for a beginner run on the 
Hollyford river. A nice grade 2 run that easily kills an afternoon. We had been 
joined by Ellen and David at this point, unfortunatly we only had one spair 
boat so David got the short straw and went walking instead. The river was 
still running really high, not flowing brown but alot higher than I have seen it
before. We had a few swimmers and it was freaking cold so there was a get out 
for a couple of people halfway down. The final get out was a bit risky, as it is 
just above the Marrian Creek section a sustained grade 4+ run. Usually its fine, 
you see the bridge and amble into an eddie on the side. With the higher swifter 
flow, and the fact we had lots of people I was a touch worried so got all the 
beginers to get out upstream a bit further. This took us to late in the afternoon 
so we started tramping into Hidden Falls, the first hut on the Hollyford walk. 
Bit worried about these kayaker types - someone was wearing jeans. In fiordland 
bush, in the rain! Eek! Once we arrived and whipped up a fire the place was 
just like home. 

Day 5 - Hidden Falls 
Somehow even though walking out took less time, and was early in the morning 
noone felt like doing much on Thursday. We made scones and pizza and later 
went down to the lake for some polo. 

Day 6 - Eglington 
A mint paddle on the Eglington river. Was a long cold run from Walker Creek 
on the Milford rd all the way down to Lake Te Anau. We had to back paddle to 
let a herd of cattle cross the river in front of us twice, they seemed to be running 
away from us, mustering by kayak anyone? After getting home we watched the 
movie “The Boat that Rocked” it was brilliant! 

Day 7 - Lower Waiau 
Pancakes then Lower Waiau river. Nice wide hole at the take out was fun. I 
nearly rolled! Ahh! Simon managed to break a paddle, and then we headed 
back for a roast and then some cleaning... 

Day 8 - Falls Creek 
A return to the amazing Falls Creek was in order before the last people head back to 
Christchurch. We drove there, but it was raining sideways, avalanches had closed the 
road halfway up the run and it was freezing... so we drove home again. 
The end.