Back to Borland – Part One

“On a Mish” #272 Back to Borland – Part One. Fiordland National Park. 19.4.2021. A lot of time had passed since my last adventure in the Borland area. Being in the mountains is for me my ‘happy place’, and the Borland area has plenty of happiness. Since my first visit back in 2013 I have returned time and time again, and each time has been different to the last. The Hunter Mountains are an excellent stomping ground, and only a stone’s throw away from Te Anau and Manapouri. Within an hour or so of driving, instead of looking at the impressive peaks of Fiordland you can actually be immersed in the glory of an uplifted landscape…

My first mish in the area was by chance, as I was map browsing on a rainy day in Tuatapere. But every mission since has been on purpose, and that purpose is to get a good dose of the mountains around the road, or sometimes go even deeper into the mountainous area beyond the reaches of roads and even tracks.

As the Lake Marian Track had given me a good run for my money, I decided to do something less taxing on my recently repaired body. Along with the massive amount of time that had passed since my last escapade, it had also been a while since I had erected my tent in the wilderness. I put these two circumstances together and came up with a plan to head to the Borland Road. My initial plan was to hike into the upper reaches of the Borland Burns South Branch (most elevated of the three branches of the river), and set up a ‘Welcome Back’ camp.

With a rather average weather forecast for the area, I set off with the excitement of a mish brewing. My car was pounded by rain and wind as I drove out of the Te Anau Basin, and up over Blackmont into the south of the south. I looked west to see the peaks visible, which meant I would at least get some sort of a view when I got there. I didn’t see another car while heading south, and as I turned onto the gravel of the Borland Road the weather showed me why I didn’t see anybody out and about.

Wind slammed the front of my car, followed by sheets of heavy rain that was giving my window wipers a good workout. At least the road was open, so I pushed on into the rain. The river below the road was in good flow but nothing crazy, so I knew the place wasn’t going to be flooded, and as I drove higher I had a couple of patches of blue sky thrown into the mix above me. I got to the higher part of the road, and pulled off into an area I had car camped in many times before. The rain returned, and I sat in my car pondering my next move. I wasn’t too keen on hiking through wet undergrowth and rain, so I just watched the rain for a while.

I could see a very faint 4WD track leading away from the area I had camped in before, and towards a patch of beech forest. A 30 metre drive, followed by a 20 metre walk took me to an incredible camping spot beside the Borland Burn. I thanked the mission gods and then began to set up camp just as the rain returned…

A rain soaked Borland Burn

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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