Two Boys in a Boat (Part Two) – North Lake Te Anau

“On a Mish” #18 Two Boys in a Boat (Part Two). Northern Lake Te Anau. Fiordland National Park. 7.10.2018. I heard the expression “New Zealand-ish” the other day. A term that some use around the world when describing untouched naturally beautiful places. We have our fair share here down in the South Pacific, and each offers its own scenic rewards. To visit the largest body of freshwater in all of Australasia and practically have the place to yourself is so good it almost seems a bit greedy…

Apart from seeing a couple of people at Worsley Hut (near the beach at Worsley Arm) Dylan and I had had the entire northern end of Lake Te Anau to ourselves. One of the most scenic spots on the planet with little to no sign of mankind, an achievement only possible in Aotearoa.

With daylight disappearing we knew we had to find a camping spot sooner rather than later, as bumbling around in the dark wasn’t on our list of things to do.

After a quick look at the map we decided that Happy Cove looked like the best spot to spend the night, and with the name ‘Happy Cove’ we had a preset state of mind when we arrived!

A slight afternoon breeze had developed, and this began to create rolling waves on the lake. Although only a couple of kilometres away, this part of our journey was easily the most exciting part of the day. Dylan did his best to avoid the waves, but in places the only option was to plough straight through. And this would mean the wave would break over the front of the little boat, wetting everything in its path including me!

After an entertaining soaking we got into the calmer waters of Happy Cove and were happy to plant our feet on solid terrain once again.

There isn’t anything particularly interesting at the cove, but the place is dripping with history from the time the track has been around and even back to the days of the early Maori. The history wasn’t visible but you could feel it in the ground and smell it in the air.

While Dylan had a tent, I opted to just sleep out in the open in my bivvy bag (Gortex waterproof sleeping bag cover) in a trench the lake had carved out on the beach. Open air camping is something I don’t do as much as I should so I take the opportunity whenever it presents itself. There is nothing like looking up at the stars above your exposed bedroom with the endless sky as your roof.

Early-ish the next morning I woke to a sandfly having a good chew on my face, and also a change in the weather. Grey clouds had replaced the clear blue skies, and we knew it wouldn’t be long before the rain would arrive.

Instead of heading straight back to the wharf at Te Anau Downs, stubbornness took us halfway up the North Fiord of Lake Te Anau while the skies began to darken around us. Our aim was the small gap in the arm near the head, however as we began to see the water getting whipped up by the storm front we did a u-turn and were chased back out of the arm by the approaching storm.

We crossed back over the lake to Te Anau Downs, and as we got the dinghy out of the water we felt the first spots of precipitation. Looking back over to the western side of the lake we knew we had made the right decision to turn back, as the entire side of the lake was now wrapped in rain.

Overall the mish was extremely successful and showed what opportunities are available for those with a boat on Lake Te Anau. This really hit home as to why there is a boat in nearly every driveway / backyard in the town. I hope to buy a little boat one day, as the mission was such good fun and much less taxing on the body when compared with any other sort of mission in Fiordland. Once again an epic mish had been taken care of, and the seeds for future endeavours on the pristine waters of Lake Te Anau had been sown…

Happy Cove Camp

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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