Three-Wire Bridge (Part One) – Hollyford Valley

“On a Mish” #391 Three-Wire Bridge (Part One). Hollyford Valley. Fiordland National Park. 18.2.2024. Fiordland is like a present at Christmas that you really want and when you get it, it doesn’t disappoint. I never realized how much I needed a place until it was taken away from me. There is a real magic in the fact that the rugged environment has remained mostly untouched for as long as it has existed. Many experience the area from the comfort of a car, bus, or boat, but I believe to get the real Fiordland experience you need to get away from human activity and creation and get your feet on a backcountry track. Even if you only go a short distance like me…

My first ‘real’ Fiordland adventure was when I went with a couple of my guiding buddies up the Moraine Creek Track. We were used to the well-groomed trails of the Routeburn Track and the difference between the two was a real wake up call to what it used to be like for trampers back in the day. Tree roots, tree falls, and mud are just a side thought in a place where beauty is equal to ruggedness, and when you’re just getting back into hiking like me it can seem like it is impossible to experience the real Fiordland. Don’t let impossible get in the way of a good mish!

Moving back to Te Anau was like a lung full of air for someone trapped under water. A sudden rush of awesomeness is what I got when I rolled back into town with a car jammed packed full of my stuff. I am extremely grateful for my time up in Christchurch, and without the help of my parents I wouldn’t be writing these stories. I don’t even want to think about what it would have been like without their help. They are true life savers.

After getting back on my feet in the town I love to call home I started to think about the thing that made me buy my house, Fiordland National Park. Not only is it one of earths last untouched paradises, but it also is home of the Darran Mountains, and to me there is no better location on earth. The only downside to the Darrans is that fact that nothing comes easy (unless you are on the Milford Road).

My plan was a leisurely drive to the Lower Hollyford Valley and test my legs against a tiny section of the Moraine Creek Track. Years ago, I had visited the area and fought my way up to Lake Adelaide and then on to the iconic Phil’s Bivvy. I was only going to go from the road to the Three-Wire Bridge over Moraine Creek, around two kilometres or so. I knew it would be tough, but stubbornness has overcome tough on many occasions lately.

I made my way up the Milford Road and then down the Hollyford Road with a definite weather change painted on the skies. It was lucky that I wasn’t going further as Moraine Creek is the last place you’d want to be when it is raining. By chance I seemingly wanted to get the wet Fiordland experience since while I drove to the track in my flip flops my water bottle was slowly leaking out completely soaking my socks! I had no plan B so on went the wet socks and my boots slipped on to my feet with a slosh.

After sorting my pre-hike wet feet situation, I made my way towards the most deceiving swing bridge in Fiordland. Spanning Whakatipu Ka Tuka Hollyford River, the bridge is large and well-built however, immediately after crossing the bridge the track is not what most people are expecting. An older couple had just pulled up before me, and I let them get a little bit ahead of me as I expected them to cross the bridge and then turn back. I was right and after letting them get back across the bridge I was met with a rather sarcastic “good”. It was now time for me to make my way across the bridge and on to the rough track to the Three-Wire Bridge over Moraine Creek…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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