Mt Borland(1547m) – Last of the Borland Peaks (Part One)

“A Mish a Day” #145 Mt Borland(1547m) – Part One. Fiordland National Park. 23.3.2019. I think you are very lucky if you can find your happy place. For me it is either ripping around on my skateboard or spending time in the mountains. The pull of the mountains is what drew me in and led to me buying a house in Te Anau. To the north are the mighty Darran Mountains, and to the south is the action packed Borland Road area. Both in Fiordland and both definitely worth a visit. Map browsing had helped me spot a possible route up a very dominant mountain in the area, so I grabbed my gear and headed south…

The distinctive pyramid shape of Peak 1547m always looks impressive when driving towards the Hunter Mountains from the east, and to me this will always be Mt Borland(1547m) due to its central location amongst the peaks of the Borland area. The mountain towers over the upper reaches of the Borland Road, and with such a dominating position it’s amazing the mountain has never been named. This was the last of the ‘easy access’ peaks adjacent to the road left for me to climb, so with a couple of free days and the hunger for a mission I set off for the Borland Road. Even the drive before arriving is impressive, with a cruise along the east shores of the stunning Lake Manapouri. I made my way up the gravel of the Borland Road in the afternoon sun, and as I got closer I got more excited. Knowing I only had around 1km to travel I left my home during the afternoon, and took my time getting to the base of the mountain. I planned to camp in the large basin to the west of Mt Borland(1547m) and to access this I followed the small creek draining the basin until it became a series of waterfalls in a gorge. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy walk up through the forest, and after reaching a gorge in the river I dove into the dense forest. What I thought was going to be a stroll through open forest very quickly turned into a battle between boy and bush. The undergrowth of the forest was thick with juvenile beech trees all clustered together. It took me a surprisingly long time to get through the tangle of Fiordland forest and out into the open ground above.

Once above the tree-line I was into the nasty sharp Spaniard plant and soft golden tussock, two plants that are completely different but grow in the same places. I didn’t have to look far to find a campsite, and easily found a spot with outstanding views of Mt Burns(1645m) across the valley. While setting up my tent I heard the call of a few Kea, and turned around to see them high above my camp. As much as I love Kea (my favourite animal) I know from experience that they can make a real mess of a campsite. One swooped down for a closer inspection, but luckily they didn’t bother my camp. As per the norm, the Fiordland sunset was a masterpiece, and with the sun slowly setting the temperature began to drop. I was looking forward to being nice and cosy in my sleeping bag, but first I had a sunset to watch. The evening light turned the granite bluffs of Mt Burns(1645m) orange, red and finally a light pink, before the sun disappeared and everything went back to grey. With a sky covered in stars above I enjoyed a still and peaceful night in my tent, excited about what was to come…

Mt Burns(1645m) from the Basin Below Mt Borland(1547m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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