Blue Ducks & Banter – Part Three

“On a Mish” #315 Blue Ducks and Banter – Part Three. Monkey Creek. Fiordland National Park. 29.12.2021. I have never gone out of my way to find animals in the wild, but have been lucky enough to have had many awesome encounters. I have never been a hunter but I have shot at plenty of animals with my camera, and on many occasions I have hit the target. I just love to watch the little critters chilling in their ‘hoods doing what they do. The chance of these interactions with some of the rarest creatures on the planet really adds to going on a mish in Aotearoa…

We hadn’t traveled very far up Monkey Creek to get to our campsite, but the hike and the weight of the pack was still enough to aggravate my hip, so I needed a rest after getting to camp. Luckily I could sit back and enjoy a view of Mt Christina(2474m) and the jagged peaks of the Crosscuts(2263m). After a rest we headed up the valley in the forest to a point where we could see the biggest waterfalls in Monkey Creek. The water was ridiculously clear and to see it made the bush bash / scramble up the valley worth it. Back down at camp we enjoyed an epic sunset by our campfire, and thinking back to our encounter with the Hollyford, we were happy to be here and not drowned! I did my best to see most of the sunset, but eventually my sleeping bag proved to be too enticing and it was time to retreat to the warmth. Early-ish the next morning we had to be up as I had work back in Te Anau at 10am.

The early-ish start was definitely worth it as we witnessed the start of the day in the Darran Mountains, with mist occasionally revealing the mighty towers of rock above us. After packing up camp we began our hike back down Monkey Creek to the Milford Road, and it was on this wander that we would get the highlight of a mission that would have been described as epic even without it. We had to cross Monkey Creek for the last time to get to the road, and it was here we spotted a whanau of Whio (Blue Ducks). Being one of the rarest ducks / animals on the planet this was a real treat. Mum, dad and three ducklings were playing around in the small rapids of Monkey Creek before dad gathered the gang after sensing the danger of us approaching. It was a true honour to see the $10 note bird, a bird that is very important to the people of Aotearoa. It was the icing on the cake and it wasn’t even 7.30am yet! We got back to the car as the first of the vehicles started to roll on into Milford Sound and the sun began to break its way through the clouds. Even with the failed Hollyford crossing we still had an incredible time and all wilderness cravings were met. Wet feet, banter and Blue Ducks, another outstanding mission into Ata Whenua (Fiordland National Park)!!

Early morning mountain magic

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter