A Road to Nowhere (Part One) – Lindis Pass Conservation Area / Ahuriri Conservation Area

“On a Mish” #407 A Road to Nowhere (Part One). Lindis Pass Conservation Area / Ahuriri Conservation Area. 27.6.2024. Curiosity is a driving factor in going into the outdoors. A want, need, must know attitude will take you to some incredible places. And wondering what lies beyond the next ridge or at the next clearing in the forest might be the only thing powering your legs when your energy reserves are nearly spent. A big reason I go into the wild is so I can see the sights and let my senses soak in what the wilderness has to offer. For over fifteen years I have travelled up and down my home island checking out different backcountry places along the way. And for years I had passed a little road / track and wondered where exactly it went…

In 2008 I began a life which involved driving between Christchurch and either Queenstown, Tuatapere, or Te Anau at least twice a year. Sometimes I would drive the coastal route on State Highway 1 and take in the excellent views of the vast Pacific Ocean, before heading inland towards the mountains of the Southern Alps. However, if the weather let me, I would drive via State Highway 8 up or down the spine of the South Island (Te Waipounamu). Driving ‘up the guts’ is a treat for the eyes, and many missions can be found along the 600 odd kilometres of concrete.

Looking North up Lake Te Anau

Around the Lindis Pass is a small track / road that has tempted my eyes, but I have never been in a situation where I have the time to go explore the unknown with my tent. My pre-injury life consisted of hard hikes and big climbs, but nowadays I look for slightly less taxing, but just as epic adventures, usually accompanied by a four-legged friend. The little track near Lindas Pass looked like the perfect place to explore and for once I had a night spare. I also had a brand-new Marmot tent to test out, so all was looking good for finally discovering the undiscovered.

The weather was perfect for a mish as Georgie and I made my way north from Te Anau towards Lindis Pass. The roads were quiet, and I made good time, getting to the pass just after lunchtime. I drove the minute or so down from the pass (on the north side) and got to the start of the track. After all these years I was finally going to see where this eye-catching track led. Of course, I had studied the map of the area and saw what looked like the perfect place to pitch a tent near an unnamed stream that flowed down towards the highway.

The mighty Cr-V was immediately put to the test as one of the track’s ruts had collapsed and if I took the wrong path I would ‘belly’ the car and potentially end my trip up the track only metres in. Georgie and I bounced side-to-side as I snuck around the ruts with a thud. It seemed like I had passed the hard stuff as I continued upward on easier ground. The eastern faces of Double Peak rose steeply to my right and ahead I could see the stream and potential camping spots. Everything was going to plan until I was stopped dead in my tracks by a locked gate and signs. The track / road went to nowhere. It was a disappointing discovery after many years wondering where it went, and I had been really looking forward to seeing my tent in the tussock of the Lindis Pass Conservation Area.

The weather still screamed “MUST GO CAMPING”, and I had a carload of mission gear wanting to be used. After rounding up a confused dog who was as ready for a mish as I was, we continued north wondering what to do next. The road to no where hadn’t produced the goods so it was time to search for a plan B for me, Georgie, and my brand-new tent that needed a night out in the environment it was designed to be in…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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