Located right in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand is the mighty Avoca River. The Avoca River feeds into the Harper River, which flows into the Wilberforce River at the top of Lake Coleridge, which then flows into the Rakaia River.
We've been up into the Avoca River twice before, and both times we've faced challenges getting from the road, through the Harper River and up to the base of the Avoca Valley. The first time we tried, there was too much water. The second time we tried, we tried to go up the wrong side of the river, which was rocky and tough going. More about that trip HERE.
This time though, we were prepared with better equiped vehicles, and some solid experience.
The party was made up of just Paul and myself. Two very capable Jimny's and two very enthusiastic explorers.
We arrived at the Harper River on Friday morning, where it was raining fairly consistently. We promptly crossed the Harper, which was deeper than anticipated. I went first, with a Lightweight Camper trailer on the back. I glanced in the mirror while I was going through, and the trailer was floating sideways! Those plastic bins make great floatation devices.
Now that we know the best way to navigate the Harper and Avoca rivers, it didn't take long for us to get to the other side of the Avoca, where we headed deeper into the mountains. As we did, the temperature dropped and the rain slowly turned to snow. As we arrived at Basins Hut, the snow was coming in nicely.
As we were the only people for miles, we made ourselves at home in the 1970s. As the snow kept falling, we cut some firewood, lit the fire and warmed the hut.
The following day started white and cold, and turned into a beautiful day. We set off, heading further into the mountains. We faced a some moderate river crossings and some tracks that were fairly well surrounded in matagouri - lucky neither of us were too worried about scratching our cars.
On our journey we came across this cool we climb off to the side of the track. Steeper than the video makes out, this was more challenging than I anticipated!
At the end of the track, as far as we could go, we found a very cool wee camp site, with a small bonfire in the middle. It'd obviously been used by hunters over the years, it was fairly well sheltered and made for a great spot to stop for lunch.
On Saturday night we stayed at Basins Hut again, and had a great bon fire.
All in all, a very successful trip. Damage was minimal, the weather was great, and simply being surrounded in these amazing mountains is almost spiritual.