The Castles in the Sky (Part Two) – Okaka Lodge / Summit Loop-Track

“On a Mish” #406 The Castles in the Sky (Part Two). Okaka Lodge / Summit Loop-Track. Fiordland National Park. 27.11.2013. On a cloudless day you can see all the way over the massive sweep of Te Waiwai Bay to Motupohue Bluff Hill, as well as getting awesome views of Rakiura Stewart Island. A view of the Southern Ocean from the top of a hill is a rare treat only available when hiking the Humpridge Track. With that said, it is rather common to arrive at the lodge and only see thick clouds obscuring the views. Some see this as a ‘bad thing’; however, I believe that the Tors & Tarns Loop Track looks even more mysterious as the sandstone castles appear out of the mist and mesmerise the minds of the many that make the trek to the top of the Hump Ridge…

Above Okaka Lodge is the unmissable ‘Tors and Tarns’ loop track, and those who avoid the side mish feel foolish when hearing about it down at Port Craig Lodge. Whether it be a quick trip up after gathering your thoughts on day one to see the sunset, or a sunrise hike before continuing along the ridge towards your next nights’ accommodation at Port Craig Lodge. The natural rock sculptures and perfectly placed ponds are striking even if you arrive to a ridge lost in the clouds. A misty-cal Fiordland is just as good as a sunny one, and unless you plan on coming back you might as well experience every part of the impressive summit to sea wild wander.

If the conditions were right, I’d do my best to drag as many people as possible up to see the many colours of Fiordland as the sun slowly sunk into the Southern Ocean. I saw some of the best sunsets from the loop track and at times I had to remind myself that this was just part of the job, a perk only possible when you are the lodge manager at Okaka Lodge.

Like all complement sandwiches I must point out the only real downside to life at Okaka Lodge, and that is the never mission that is drying out washed bits and pieces. The Humpridge Track has the awesome option of having your own fully furnished private room. Duvets and views are a unique option not available on the other ‘Great Walks’ unless you are going guided. What is a huge positive to many is a nightmare at times for the poor old lodge manager. But when times get tough, I would either take a peek out of the window at the incredible world that surrounds the lodge or go for a wander around the loop track in my down time and Fiordland would make everything all good in paradise.

Nowadays the track has finally been recognised as one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, but to me it was always more than just that. The sandstone castles and tranquil tarns sit high above the beaches of Te Waiwai Bay, and at times it might seem like you might not make it. But just remember the rewards that awaits you at the castles in the sky, and the wonderous walkway that waves its way through the clouds only a short wander above…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter