Foray into Mount Aspiring NP

Date of Adventure: 15 March 2021

Fiordland National Park has been at the forefront of New Zealand’s mysterious wilderness in my mind since I first explored it in 2015. Giant, plunging fjords, dense forests with impenetrable underbrush, and torrential rainfall.

As such, a day trip venturing into Mount Aspiring National Park just west of Wanaka took me completely by surprise. Suddenly, I was in the land of Tolkien. Vast plains quickly lurched up into rocky mountains towering above, with milky glacial rivers appearing from valleys we couldn’t see moments before.

In our previous post it was mentioned that a storm system was rolling through the country; that was the day we decided to drive into the mountains for fun.

Water everywhere! Falling from the sky, rolling down the hills, pooling around the swans, you name it!

That didn’t keep the locals from going about their business though!

We had the privilege of taking Campi Schlabi through a number of Fords this day, each deeper and murkier than the last.

As we were contemplating if we could make it across a particularly wide one, a tour van plowed through it coming the other way and pulled up alongside us, rolling his window down. We were advised that the next ford had come up to his windscreen, and was only getting deeper; that was our turnaround point for this adventure!

The rain continued as we barrelled back through the fords, nervous they might swell at any moment.

After the final ford, we could relax a bit and enjoy the misty mountains around us. We found a herd of domesticated deer that were enjoying it as well!

We stopped for lunch and kept working on insulating our curtains as the rain plinked on the van roof. Eventually the sun came out and started baking the van, so we ventured out for a hike!

After the storm

We only saw one other person on this trail, but the views were phenomenal!

Phenomenal views

We finished up the day by finding an out of the way road to freedom camp on, our first real freedom camping!

Freedom camping!

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for a big post about the Kepler track coming up soon!


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