11 April 2017. A day jaunt starting and finishing with a rowboat across the Waiau River at Manapouri. We followed the Circle and Hope Arm tracks to Hope Arm Hut, and then a short off-track climb of the Monument, a small but spectacular rocky outcrop overlooking Lake Manapouri.
“Circle Track” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more a stiff climb through beech forest to a lookout. But the views are certainly worthwhile! And tucked well below the skyline is the spectacular outcrop of the Monument. It’s normally accessed by a short steep track from a boat-accessed beach on its western side. Our trusty Moirs Guide South suggested a feasible off-track route from the south.
Down a steep spur we joined the Hope Arm track which meanders through lovely beech and podocarp forest, with the odd bit of swamp. Lovely tree lichens.
And truly amazing birdsong. We recorded some bellbirds, which you can check out over on YouTube:
Fiordland rivers are stained by tannins, much the same as those in Southwest Tasmania where Sue and I have done lots of walking. This shot could have been taken in Tasmania.
The Monument appears to be a hard conglomerate. On this outcrop, the rocks are sorted by size. I’m at a loss to explain why!
The views from the top made the climb worthwhile.
To the southeast we could see the podocarp swamp forest we’d walked through to get here.
Some of the forest giants.
If the original plans to raise the level of Lake Manapouri for hydroelectric generation had gone ahead, no doubt these forests would have been flooded and killed. Tasmania went through a similar series of contentious debates over hydroelectric schemes at the same time. Unlike New Zealand, the scheme that raised Lake Pedder went ahead unchanged. It’s a little ironic that we have our Lake Pedder tea towels with us – shown here on the line at the Manapouri Motor Camp.