The Wairaurahiri River – Part 2

“A Mish a Day” #220 The Wairaurahiri River – Part 2. Fiordland National Park. 27.10.2013. The ruggedness of the South Fiordland coastline was living up to its rough reputation. The Southern Ocean was choppy, heavy waves were smashing into the rocky beach, and black storm clouds darkened the midday sky. Looking at the storm already lashing the coast to the west really showed how brave early Maori were, as they paddled their Waka (boats) around Fiordland in the quest for Pounamu (greenstone).

The heavy rain returned as we explored the area around Waitutu Lodge, and were given a rundown on the place by the Lodge Manager. After a wander over to the Wairaurahiri Hut (DoC) we heard the roar of the boat’s engine, and it was time to head back up the river. Unfortunately Wairaurahiri Hut wasn’t shown any respect by its last occupants, as the hut’s floor was littered with beer bottles and rubbish. Once again Joyce was cleaning up someone else’s rubbish, when they could have easily taken out their own mess! With the hut looking loved, now nice and tidy as all huts should be after being used, we were back on the river beginning the journey back to Lake Hauroko.

The South Coast

The Wairaurahiri is known as New Zealand’s longest waterfall as, from the coast to Lake Hauroko, it climbs 155 meters, and this is made obvious as the boat bounces it’s way through the numerous sections of rapids. Johan’s experience driving boats up and down the river makes the journey a safe one, as the river (or riverbanks) has claimed many less skilled skippers’ boats over the years. As we reentered the southern end of Lake Hauroko we were given a couple of rare glimpses of the snow-capped peaks that surround the huge lake. Even with the weather being less than favourable the Wjet experience was incredible, and the warm local hospitality made up for the lack of sunlight. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Aotearoa’s south west corner with a spare day up your sleeve, I highly recommend a mission down the Wairaurahiri with Joyce and Johan at Wjet.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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