Archives For Fiordland National Park

It’s been a busy winter at Shy Lake as we follow the southern Fiordland tokoeka through our first monitored breeding season.

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Our first job for the new kiwi project at Shy Lake was to get radio transmitters on enough adults that we could hope for a worthwhile sample this year in terms of survival monitoring.

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Having chosen a site that would work for our study, we need to catch some adult kiwi and attach radio transmitters to their legs.

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Today’s photo of the week is a whio starting the journey to a new home in Mount Aspiring National Park.

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After selling their house in the United States, retired couple John and Jean Strother have been travelling full time. They love to hike and backpack and have had some amazing adventures around the world — including here in New Zealand.

Today we’re sharing with you Jean and John’s experience (and beautiful photos) of the Routeburn Track…

The Routeburn Track: Beautiful beyond words.

Beautiful beyond words

The Routeburn Track, going east to west, starts in Mt Aspiring National Park and crosses into Fiordland National Park.

The Routeburn Track. Photo copyright: John Strother. All rights reserved.

Incredible landscapes

We decided to use huts as there is no camping at Routeburn Falls (we chose to not do the long day required to hike from Routeburn Flats over Harris Saddle to the campground at Lake Mackenzie Hut).

As the Routeburn Track is not a loop, we had to make some transportation arrangements, organising for our campervan to be driven from Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy and 68 km from Queenstown) where we started, to other end of the track at the The Divide Shelter (on the Milford Road, 85 km from Te Anau).

After arriving at the Routeburn Falls Hut (and securing two of the remaining three bottom bunks) we did some exploring in the area, John with camera in hand, as always.

Routeburn Falls. Photo copyright: John Strother. All rights reserved.

Routeburn Falls

The next day we headed toward Harris Saddle, enjoying views of Lake Harris along the way.

Lake Harris. Photo copyright: John Strother. All rights reserved.

Lake Harris

We stopped briefly at the Harris Saddle Shelter and climbed to the top of nearby Conical Hill for still more great views, including bits of Milford Sound and the Tasman Sea in the far distance.

Harris Saddle Shelter. Photo copyright: John Strother. All rights reserved.

Harris Saddle Shelter

John and Jean on top of Conical Hill.

John and Jean on top of Conical Hill

We then descended from the saddle and got our first sight of Lake Mackenzie, as well as the Lake Mackenzie Hut, which is barely seen at the far end of the lake—our destination for the day.

Lake Mackenzie

Lake Mackenzie

As we descended further, we entered what is aptly called “The Enchanted Forest”…


The Enchanted Forest

Earland Falls seen on the Routeburn Track

Earland Falls

The next day the track took us by Earland Falls…

…before leading to the end of the track where we were happy to see our campervan waiting for us in the parking lot at the Divide.

Read more on panafoot — Jean and John’s blog.

pan-a-foot (păn’ ũh fʊt) v. covering great distances to see more of the world under one’s own power

All of the photos used in this post were taken by John Strother © All rights reserved.

See more of their Routeburn Track photos on Flickr.

A big thanks to Jean and John for giving us permission for us to publish this on the Conservation Blog!

Snow falling at Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre is today’s photo of the week.

The snow showed up around the country last week just in time for the arrival of the school holidays—the busiest two weeks of the ski season.


The snowy and icy conditions have affected some of the tracks in the Fiordland National Park, so if you are planning on visiting please check the latest Fiordland alerts.

Photo by Caroline Carter, Partnerships Ranger.

Today’s photo of the week is the 17 metre high and 59 metre long Sandhill Point viaduct in the rugged Waitutu Forest.

It is one of four giant timber viaducts built nearly a century ago on the south coast of the Fiordland National Park that will be restored under an agreement announced by the Minister of Conservation last week.

Sandhill Point viaduct. Photo: digitaltrails | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The viaducts were originally built in the early 1920s as part of a timber tramline to a local logging and sawmill operation.

Nowadays the viaducts are a spectacular part of the Hump Ridge Track which travels along the south coast of Fiordland. The restoration will mean that generations of New Zealanders and international visitors will continue to enjoy the historic features of this track.

This photo was taken by digitaltrails | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.