Today started our 3 day hiking experience with Trips & Tramps based in Te Anau, South Island. We opted for the “Fiordland Great Walk 3-Day Package” encompassing parts of 3 of the currently 10 Great Walks of NZ. I guess we’ll just have to come back to do parts of the 7 other tracks! We woke to a misty, foggy morning with looming clouds. After the hotel buffet breakfast we met our guide in the lobby at 8am for a briefing about the 3 hikes ahead of us. Today is the Routeburn Track, just a tiny section of the 2-3 day, 20.5 mile route. We climbed into the Trips & Tramps van and proceeded to pick up several more hikers at 2 other locations around town. We drove the 1 hour along the Milford Road to our starting point, stopping at viewpoints (and a coffee cart) on the way.
As we hiked through the beech forest interspersed with flowering lacebark and huge papery-barked fuschia trees we were lucky to spot a pair of Keruru (NZ huge pigeons) and a parrot pulling moss off a tree looking for bugs. It might be a Kaka parrot, but this is the habitat for Kea! We also passed a few waterfalls.
As we ate our lunch at the summit the wind blew off most of the remaining mist and clouds and we had wonderful views of the mountains!
We hiked 5 miles total over a 4.5 hour time period, stopping for picture taking, watching birds, informative information from our guide, and eating the delicious lunch provided, along with a hot drink too! The drive back to Te Anau had a few more sightseeing stops.
A great day of hiking in improving weather and a good start to our 3 days of hiking!