South Fiord, Lake Te Anau

After a crazy summer, Fiordland weather has returned to “normal”. So we need to grab each little window of fine, whenever it may appear. After fresh snow on the hills Thursday, Friday to Sunday looked OK. So we packed the kayaks and headed up the South Fiord of Lake Te Anau. The three arms of the lake are the only places the term “fiord” is actually used in Fiordland. The saltwater fiords are called “sounds” or “inlets”.

We started from the control gates, just a short drive from Te Anau. The initial paddle up the lake was challenging!

We camped about half way along South Fiord. Conditions the next morning remained calm.

And it cleared to a perfect day. These parallel landslips are a classic landform feature of the fiords.

We found many little beaches along the way. Perfect for a chocolate stop. The kowhai must look a treat in spring.

Mt Pickering sits above a glacial cirque. Sue is not sure what Dave is doing with his paddle. Any suggestions?

Even more challenging conditions awaited us at the head of the fiord.

Mackenzie Burn drains into the head of the fiord. It offers good upstream paddling for a km or so. This is at the edge of the Takahe Special Area, the only place takahe can currently be found in the wild.

We explored the remnants of an old jetty, and found a well-defined track to Gorge Falls. This must have been the destination of a significant tourist venture in the past. Now it is mostly used by private motorboats.

Chester Burn offers a peek into the Murchison Mountains. Our blue skies quickly turned to showers.

And afternoon rainbows.

Sunrise on Sunday morning from our campsite.

Fearsome ripples on the fiord.

It was so calm that the reflections were disorientating.

We had the place to ourselves. Except, that is, for a water skier. We can’t think of a more dramatic place to waterski.

A short side track starting near the fiord entrance leads to Hidden Lakes. Again, this area seemed to have been popular in the past. But now most of the track network is covered in tree falls. The lakes are lovely, offering views towards Mt Luxmore and the Kepler Track.

Recent rain following a warm summer has been great for forest fungi.

The following day revealed Lake Te Anau in a more typical mood. An excellent day for coffee shops! Or in our case, auto-electricians.

Trip 22-24 March 2018. Posted 27 March 2018.