Going Guided (Part Two). Whakatipu Ka Tuka / The Hollyford Track

“On a Mish” #186 Going Guided (Part Two). Whakatipu Ka Tuka / The Hollyford Track. Fiordland National Park. 25.1.2016. By 2016 I had spent nearly a decade guiding people around different parts of Aotearoa. Working on the Routeburn, Milford, Greenstone, Humpridge Tracks, as well as some guiding on the Tasman Glacier had prepared me for a whole lot of other outdoor experiences. My workplace was my training ground for bigger things when I had days off. I am grateful that life took me on a journey where the wilderness was always part of my office. You might not get paid much as a guide, but the visual perks, along with the buzz of showing others your daily views, were something I just couldn’t get enough of….

As a guide you should have a good awareness of safety when out in the bush. If something goes wrong, you need to be the one who can step up and help where needed. So, this probably means you don’t go on many guided adventures yourself. I never really thought about going guided until I was invited to go with my parents on their Hollyford Track experience, and afterwards I can say that having the guides and all the other benefits was a massive bonus during our wild west wet Fiordland wander.

After crossing over the Divide and dropping down into the Hollyford Valley we had a brief stop at Gunns Camp (R.I.P). Seeing the camp was a great way to slowly take in the epic surroundings. At the camp, and for the rest of the drive the rain eased, and actually stopped while we disembarked and took a team photo at the start of the track. This dry spell wouldn’t last very long.

We crossed the swing-bridge over Humboldt Creek and began to trek towards Lake McKerrow, Martin Bay, and then the vastness of the open Tasman Sea. About ten minutes into this journey our jackets got their first taste of Fiordland Rain. Rain that makes a thud when it hits that ground was beginning to make itself at home in the Hollyford and we were about to see the power of precipitation in paradise.

The heavy rain meant low cloud and not mountains on display, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have any thing to look at. Not too far from the start is the first major waterfall, and it was safe to say there was a ton of water falling! Usually, Hidden Falls sits tucked away and is only seen after rounding a bend. However, we had the special privilege of seeing an immense amount of spray blasting from its base and feeling the thundering force which was rumbling through the ground even before we could see the falls.

After catching a glimpse of Hidden Falls, we were soaked through. If we were walking the track independently it would be a long and wet wander to get to Lake Alabaster Hut (the first independent hiker hut), but because we were going guided our next stop was a hot drink and some time to dry off in a hut which did exactly live up to its name on our visit…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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