Our first DOC Site

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 29, 2008

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Where I stayed
Henrys Creek

Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, June 16, 2008

As Milford Sound sits right at the end of the Fiordland National Park area, we decide to stay a while and just enjoy the dramatic scenery, by stopping wherever we saw a sign indicating a walk or a view point.  We were in the nicest places each time and just meandered along inside the Park area.   One of the most dramatic walks took us only about 10 minutes, into the rainforest, then suddenly at Cascade Creek  (named so for a good reason).  It was a very deep cascade into which several huge trees had fallen and got trapped, but look like mere twigs in these photos.  The water was extremely loud as it gushed through the gaps.  Apparently, this is one of the stops for many of the coach tours that take people to Milford Sound and the area can get crowded.  However, we shared the car park with a friendly mountain parrot (called a Kea) and one other car.

We had read about the Department of Conservation Campsites as being good (but basic) places to camp in beautiful locations and decide to give our first one a try.   We were not disappointed in the least.   We found Henrys Creek just as light was beginning to fade and drove our 7metre long campervan cautiously down a gravel lane, engulfed by forest.  It was too tight to turn around and too dark to see much.  When we got the bottom of the hill (which was only a slope in the morning!), we simply had no choice but to  keep following the track.

In the headlights, we spot a van sized space which was surrounded by some trees with a glint of water through the tree line.  It was a difficult angle to get in to so we decided to keep following the track.  By now light was really fading fast and being in forest made visibility hard.

We kept going and saw an outline of an animal at the waters edge.    Then a car tucked in the trees.  The relief at realising the animal was a dog was quite a shock.   We kept going and got to the end and in the dark just about saw a perfect spot for our van.   How Clive managed to reverse into a space about a foot larger than our van I do not know, but we were in !

By the morning, we are totally converted to DOC campsites.  There is no power, just a long drop toilet.  But you get a priceless location.

In the morning we woke up at our campsite which was right on the shoreline of a mist covered lake with a view of the snow capped mountains all around. There was absolutely no one else around.  The silence and the sunrise over the lake made for a very peaceful breakfast.
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