A new day and miles lay ahead on Day 2 of the Milford Track. The serenity of Day 1 was behind and more miles per day lay ahead. Who can ever complain when in a paradise like this? Leaving the calm in the forest of the Clinton Huts it was to be a 10 mile walk up the Clinton River, true nature beyond our noses at every turn. Many people do this walk more than once. You can see in the river photos I am showing it is very dry. This is one of the few walks that many wish for rain. A gorgeous raging river beside you as you walk. Waterfalls falling high off the mountain tops on the valley sides, the moss and greenery of the forest providing a feast for the senses.
The 9 New zealand Great Walks and much more of this country’s natural beautiful landscape is manged by the Department of Conservation (DOC). I have witnessed first hand only a little of what they have done and are striving to achieve. It is truly remarkable work and how this will affect the future in so so many ways. Air New Zealand has created a great partnership with DOC and in just these few miles you get to see how it is working.
This landscape is home to a stunning variety of birds, many unique to New Zealand. Before foreign man came they had no mammal predators so such birds as the Kiwi evolved to prowl the forest floor without flight. Small wrens and tits sang and swooped amongst the green in great numbers. Man brought rats and mice, then brought stoats and possums to control the rats and mice. As you can imagine with those mammals multiplying freely then birds and the eggs of, that had never developed a natural defence system, had been lost in such numbers. The partnership has helped create a huge pest control system and traps that is getting rid of these mammals with resounding results. The rangers are noticing small bird numbers increase en masse in particular. Long may this dedicated super work continue.
Below – One of the many Tomtits that join and seem to sing you along as you walk.
After a few miles an open prairie appears and there up ahead you get a first sighting of the Mackinnon Pass! The pass that you will climb and cross over on day 3. There is so much to say on this with the next post I shall not dwell on it here. Take the time though to enjoy the surroundings and especially the special wildlife. Not just today but on every step of this route.
The Blue Duck as we saw (below) is an endagered breed. Great amounts of work is being undertaken to keep this unique duck going and growing in number. Due to the ancient isolation of New Zealand this breed has such a distant connection with what we consider the duck family.
Looking left and right. Up and down. The views are beyond what you can imagine they would be like. What a place to be! Imagine the waterfalls rushing down during rainfall! Imagine this place looking immense in every season.
Above – A very tame fellow. Quite the most common bird I saw here, The Robin. Many seen on the ground or even landing on our equipment/boots, looking for titbits.
Above – I was told by the Ranger that for me to get a sight of this little fellow was a real treat! A Rock Wren. Normally a very shy creature apparently. It was strange to see not just such a small bird but one that had also evolved with no tail wing!
Extra miles and extra beauty. This day was remarkable and most of the miles still lay ahead. I was in my element, enjoying every step, enjoying every minute. The Mintaro huts was the place to rest before day 3 and the climb over the Mackinnon Pass. A place of history, massive views and local stories…. Could not wait!