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

“A Mish a Day” #18 Two Boys in a Boat – Part One. Lake Te Anau. Fiordland National Park. 6.10.2018. Sometimes it is a bit of a mission just finding someone else to go on a mish with! A flip side to working in tourism is the fact that your weekend can fall on any day. This sometimes means days off during the week instead of the weekend, and it usually means my mates with normal 9-5 jobs will be at work. However, a huge upside to working in tourism is the like-minded workmates you meet. After nearly 15 years I have learnt to deal with the lack of a mission buddy, but also had some outstanding outings with people I have met through work.

The weather looked good for a couple of days during my time off, and the need for a mish was high. While at work early in the 2018-2019 season Dylan McHardy (a former workmate on the Fiordland Navigator and participant in many missions over the years) and I discussed the possibility of borrowing a boat and going for a look around the north end of Lake Te Anau. Luckily for us our skipper Dave had a little dinghy we could borrow. From there the mission was on! We loaded our gear and then put the boat in the water at the boat ramp at Te Anau Downs. The weather was fine and the lake was calm, we were definitely in for an epic adventure. The first part of our cruise took us over to the North Fiord for a look at Entrance Island and down the narrow corridor of the arm of the lake. We then headed north towards the top of the lake. We stopped for a bite to eat, and as we were getting ourselves ready to set sail again the motor decided it wasn’t going to work. Far from a state of panic, we just sat in the dingy and took in the scenery for a while. After about ten minutes chilling the motor roared back into life, and we were away once again. We took a left hand turn at the top of the lake and headed into the Worsley Arm. This seldom seen part of the lake has some of the most magnificent mountains. Lining each side of the deep valley is peak after peak, all stunning in their own way. As it was still spring, snow still clung to the upper aspects of the tallest mountains, and this made them look even more grand. We took the dinghy up the Worsley River until it became too shallow, then we turned back and pulled the boat ashore at the Worsley Arm Beach. With not a single cloud in the sky we considered ourselves very lucky, and after a few minutes with the sandflies we jumped back in the boat and headed for more familiar ground.

On the opposite side of Worsley Arm is the arm leading to the start of the Milford Track at Glade Wharf. It had been a few years since I had been here as a guide, but you never forget how incredible the place really is. We tied the boat to the wharf then went for a wander so I could reminisce about my days working on the track, and I also had a chance to show off my old workplace. Now well into the afternoon, it was time to start thinking about where we were going to spend the night…

The First Lodge on the Milford Track

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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