Sunday, June 11, 2017

Extraordinary Lake Hauroko, Deeper Than Lake Superior

Oh what a day! When we set ourselves down in a town as tiny as Tuatapere, population 600, it's often because we're on the road to somewhere else. Time after time, however, we've found that after a day or two of exploring, wonders emerge.

Breakfast today: chicken, onion, garlic, and ginger in cream sauce with blueberries and beets.

We're off today to see Fiordland's Lake Hauroko, just up the road and then 20k west on gravel. It's a glorious day for a field trip, surprisingly warm (55F) and mostly clear with enormous clouds in the distance. Here's a shot of our map showing Tuatapere lower right and Lake Hauroko at 9 o'clock.

When we arrive, the lake is whipping wind around like nobody's business. There's a reason for that...
Hauroko (meaning sound of the wind) lies in a deeply incised glacial valley along which winds are funnelled, making it a hazardous place for small boats.

Life force and Lake Hauroko 
I continue to be impressed with the recognition the Crown gives Maori sites. Can you imagine the US acknowledging something like this? See, for example, the Dakota Access Pipeline.

You can almost feel its immense depth.  Glacially carved Hauroko is the deepest lake in NZ at 462 meters, deeper than our beloved Lake Superior, whose deepest point is 1,332 feet /406 m. Hauroko's deepest parts are below sea level.

Anyone up for a hike?

We set out on the trail to the lookout, which at three hours return might be a bit more than we want to do, but we can turn around at any point. Tantalizing peeks at the lake and its sandy shore make this a walk to remember.

It's rugged and pristine, not a track that crowds have been frequenting, giving it a land-that-time-forgot aura.

Art's a good sport for following me onto just about any walk, even those requiring all fours and the assistance of plants to thwart a downhill slide.

Side trips to the beach are a jewel in the crown. Art forgot to bring his rams-horn walking stick and, given the terrain, has improvised.

We walk probably an hour toward the lookout and decide it's time to turn around. All those gnarly maneuverings will be ahead of reverse.

It was a glorious, full-body hike and the sun's higher in the sky when we get back to the pier.

Snack time is the best time. We lay everything out on a picnic table atop a new tea towel (from Wanaka Wastebusters) and dig in. As do the sandflies. Have we written about these NZ nasties?

Get back, namu!

Early Maori legend even has it that the god Tu-te-raki-whanoa had just finished creating the landscape of Fiordland, but the landscape was so stunning in beauty that it stopped people from working and they stood around staring in awe. The goddess Hinenuitepo became so angry at these unproductive people that she created the sandfly to bite them and get them moving again.

That goddess knew what she was doing. Sandflies are obnoxious. There are usually a few on warm beaches (more in summer). One Nelson man even joked to us about the human skeletons at Nelson Lakes, picked clean by sandflies. That bit of humor prompted be to purchase Goodbye Sandfly, a chemical-free, oil-based herbal concoction that I never used much (even at Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes).

I suspect the warmer temps today brought them out in force on the lake's edge. We gave up swatting and took picnic refuge in the Rover, where we promptly killed a dozen sandflies that had likely traveled inside on our clothes.

The light was magnificent driving the gravel road back out and we continued our explorations with a trip to the limestone caves and the longest suspension bridge in NZ. Until tomorrow, campers...


  1. What brand are those Oat crackers? I have been craving them for 2 years and trying to remember!

  2. They are 180 Degrees and we both have been craving them!
    I love the wheat-free oat version, but they're all really good. See if you can find them in the US--and let me know if you want me to bring some back.