Wild Wye Creek (Part Two) – Wye Creek Bivvy

“On a Mish” #211 Wild Wye Creek (Part Two). Wye Creek Bivvy. Wye Creek Conservation Area. 25.4.2019. If you had to choose one town to visit in Aotearoa, and you love adventure and action, then Queenstown would be the obvious choice. There is plenty to do during the day, and when the sun goes down the town amps up. It is awesome to have a place where wild wanders can then be topped of with a wild night on the town. When tackling the full length of the Wye Creek Track, which included a night in the bivouac found halfway down, we reversed the norm and after a wild night watching Dave Dobbyn in the rain we shook of the cobwebs and turned our attention to the wild wilderness found on the other side of the Remarkable Range…

‘Team Retired Routeburn’ got underway in less than inviting conditions, nothing we couldn’t handle and something that didn’t upset our enthusiasm. After wandering past Lake Alta, we crossed over the high elevation at Wye Creek Saddle. From there our long walk downhill began, starting with some tricky boulder hopping.

We were out of the snow after we got to the tarns where I had camped a few years back. It was good to be on a part of the track I hadn’t been on before. I was surprised by the length of the valley, and it seemed to take much longer than expected to get to the rock bivouac. Along the way the team had spread out, and at one stage I was alone out in front of the pack. Being by myself gave me a chance to really appreciate the wild wilderness found so close to the hustle and bustle of Queenstown.

From above, the location of the bivvy isn’t obvious however, after following animal tracks, I rounded a corner to see an incredible rock bivouac with two huge dry rooms. In such a wild place having a natural dry place to sleep is absolute gold, and I am surprised that the bivvy isn’t used more often.

The Remarkables from Wye Creek Bivouac

An excellent night of food and banter eventually ended with us retreating to the warmth of sleeping bags. While seven out of the eight humans (plus two dogs) slept in one ‘room’ I had the slightly less sheltered side of the shelter. Early-ish the next day I was woken by Bear (the dog) who was first up. Bear is a rather enthusiastic little fella, but even he had to stop and admire the amazing sunrise seen from the bivvy. Not long after watching the sunrise with Bear I heard the team starting to wake up.

After breakfast with a view, we gathered our gear and began our quest down to State Highway 6. Frosty conditions made the going slow in places. Rocks with a glaze of ice had to be negotiated before getting on the easier ground near the lower part of the trail. Eventually we got to the highest point on the track I had been to, and from there I was in familiar territory. We got back to the stashed car, and while we waited for the other vehicles, we had a chance to digest what was a wild Wye Creek wander.

It was so good to have finally walked the entire length of the Wye Creek Track. It had been a few years in the waiting, and having the bonus of a night in the bivvy with my Routeburn Family was sugar-coated epicness. I highly recommend a march up or down Wye Creek and a night at the bivouac. The change in pace from Queenstown is an excellent breath of fresh air, and it is extraordinary that such a wild place is so close to a town that is wild, but in a much different way!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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