Date of Adventure: 1 April 2021

After the hustle and bustle of back-to-back Great Walks, we had a little free time to meander a bit on our way to Stewart Island. Heading south from Te Anau, we stopped first at a quick side of the road nature reserve, the Rakatu Wetlands.

A few big black swans and some nice views, but we didn’t stay too long. Next up, we got to Clifden cave!

A small, hidden cave next to a busy mining road. The cave system does go for about 2kms and exits on the other side of the hill if you’re willing to duck, crawl and squeeze your way through. Kadi and I walked in just a little ways before I realized I had brought too large of a camera bag for squeezing through rock formations. We spent a little time with our lights completely off, getting spooked by the wind blowing through the cave, before heading back out.

Near Clifden is Lake Hauroko, New Zealand’s deepest lake. We drove out to see it, hoping there would be some nice sunset views. There was decent light, but there were also hordes of sandflies! It’s well within Fiordland national park, so this should be expected, but we weren’t quite ready!

Though we could have free camped at the Hauroko parking lot, we decided to head back to the main road that night so we could get going early the next day. We parked up near the Clifden suspension bridge, then hit the hay as it rained us to sleep.

The next morning, we were awoken by…chickens? A really handsome rooster and his mate lived in the car park, and they made sure we were up bright and early!

We took a walk across the historic suspension bridge, with the modern concrete bridge in view just a few hundred feet down the river.

On the other side of the bridge, we walked down to the river and found a swing attached to a tree! We each took turns swinging around, then returned to the chicken parking lot to continue our drive down south!

That should be enough for now, next up we will make another short post before our trip to Stewart Island!

Thanks for reading!

–Cameron and Kadi

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