Drove from the Mavora Lakes out along the Mt Nicholas Station Road to reach the western side of Lake Wakatipu. Most people get there by catching the ferry from Queenstown to Walter Peak Station. Since the powers that be decided that the petrol tanker they used to put on the ferry could fall off and pollute their beautiful lake, they made the two large Stations upgrade the road in from the west, as before it was a muddy track.
Very interesting valley. Lots of flats; then the road drops down a very steep escarpment to the Von River which flows out near Mount Nicholas Station. 30 k’s of gravel to the Mavora Laakes then another 40 k’s out to Mt Nicholas. Then back again, but well worth it.
This would be the steepest and toughest track that I have ever walked. I knew it would be tough and I may not get above the tree line but thought I would give it a go as far as I could. Not possible to show the steepness but I can assure you it was. Stopped about 20 minutes from the tree line as I knew the walking down part was the bit that hurts the knees and ankles. Timed it right as was totally shagged when got back to the bus.
The track is pretty much 500 meters straight up from the valley floor and full of gnarly roots and rocks. The amount of wind damage is amazing.
Spent a coupe of nights in the Greenstone/Caples carpark. Went for a walk up the Greenstone River and took some video. People may start to wonder if I have a tree fixation, but the bush down this way is so spectacular that I can’t stop.
Drove up past Paradise, over five fords on a rainy day, to Chinaman’s Bluff Doc camp. Went for a walk along the start of the Dart River/Rees Vally Track. Enjoy. Spent some time on the road talking to a Chinese tourist about whether or not he had got to Chinaman’s Bluff. Much confusion ensured as he had not heard of that name before and his English was as good as my Chinese.
At Chinaman’s Bluff Doc Camp went for a walk the following morning.