Savaged By Sandflies – Borland Rock Bivouac

“A Mish a Day” #128 Borland Rock Bivouac. Fiordland National Park. 14.11.2013. I always have to remind myself that Te Namu(Sandflies) are only encountered in the most clean and pristine areas of New Zealand. The Borland area is always a good day out, and on this particular trip I was heading to the comforts of the natural rock shelter, just west of the Borland Burn (river).

The start of the track is near the excellent facilities at Borland Lodge, located on the eastern edge of Fiordland National Park. The well graded track makes its way through an old section of beech forest lined with ferns to the rivers edge, then follows the river north west. A swing bridge crosses the South Branch of the Borland Burn, then continues for a few more kilometres until the rock bivouac is reached just before the Middle Branch of the Borland Burn. I was surprised by how quickly I got to the bivvy, and as it was the middle of the afternoon I filled in the time exploring the area round the bivvy. The river is a couple hundred metres away from the shelter, so first priority was water collection, then firewood time. I paused for a snack, and this was when I first realised there was the odd sandfly buzzing round.

Borland Burn

The numbers steadily grew, and I had to keep myself busy as every time I stopped moving, I was attacked by swarms of hungry beasts! The afternoon was warm, and I had to stay completely covered up to maintain as much blood as possible, so I had to slowly collected piles of wood doing my best to not over heat. I ‘enjoyed’ my dinner pacing up and down, shaking the little devils off between each bite, which meant I was constantly on the move. After dinner, to keep myself busy I sorted the firewood into tidy piles, stacked big, medium and small, and also accompanied with a large collection of kindling. The evening sky was clear and there was no wind, therefore even after darkness fell in the forest I was still under a full scale attack. I knew I had a bed in my van that was safe from Te Namu two hours away at the car park, so at about 10pm I decided I had had enough. I quickly packed up, and then made my way back by moonlight through the forest, arriving at my van at about midnight. I was happy with my decision as I could finally relax, and as I went to sleep I swear I could hear the sandflies tapping on the vans windows, trying to get in…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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