For the first few days at Mavora Lakes we stayed close to camp relaxing in the sun, exploring & becoming familiar with the area. It always feels a little strange at a new site for a day or two but once we get our bearings & feel comfortable with the surroundings we're ready to explore further afield.
There are 3 swing bridges in the immediate area, this one is at the bottom of the north lake and crosses the river that joins the two lakes. A three hour walking track follows the river downstream & continues right around the south lake and returns via the road & river back to the camping area beside the bridge. There is a less formed "fisherman track" that turns in the other direction and continues north along the west side of our lake for about an hour before petering out in thick bush & steep sides. We did this walk a couple of times, hunting for birds though, not fish.
The river was clear, not very deep & a beautiful emerald green, no fish were spotted any of the times we crossed the bridge or walked the banks although everyday brought a new wave of beautifully dressed & well equipped fishermen to try their luck.
Just south of our camp site was the "boat launch" area and it was here that a number of school camps were happening during the two weeks we were there. Some of the schools had set up tents in the trees near by while others had an area about 6kms further back down the gravel road we travelled in on. There was a "lodge" there with an amenities block that better catered for longer stays & teenagers. On the day that we left, another school camp were setting up tents on the plateau way up the back of the campground. There were two groups of 60 children coming for 3 days each, I'm not sure how they manage as the nights were getting quite chilly, there are just 2 or 3 long drop toilets, no showers or cooking facilities other than the fire pit BBQs and any gas BBQs that were brought in. I bet the kids have a ball, I just wouldn't want to be a parent helper.
Horse trekking is allowed within the park so a horse holding paddock makes a whole heap of sense but it was still rather novel seeing a DOC sign advertising the fact along with a warning to check any dry feed for stray weeds & seeds!
Below are two of the many camping areas, the one on the left is up on the plateau behind us. As you can see there is plenty of space, we hardly knew when there were others on site. Most tucked themselves into sheltered areas with a loo nearby.
Although our first weekend at Mavora was quite a busy one. Cars, boats, quad bikes & motorhomes started to arrive relatively early on the Friday. The forecast was for a fine & settled weekend so I'm sure many regulars thought they'd get one more good weekend in before the weather broke. Unfortunately it broke early and Sunday dawned cold wet & miserable. It didn't take long for everyone to pack up & ship out and by Sunday evening we had the park to ourselves once again. Just us & a motorhome up the back for the next few days.
This is the second swingbridge, it's located at the southern end of the South Mavora Lake and crosses the Mararoa River which drains the two lakes. I followed two very well kitted out fisherman across the bridge this day. We met quite a number of foreign fishermen during our two weeks, it's obviously a popular & well known area amongst the fisher community, they all had the gear but most were having little success (or so they said).
Back out on the "main" road we took a look around the corner at the Eyre Mountains Conservation Park and the road through to Walter Peak Station & Lake Wakatipu. What a beautiful landscape, we decided we'd do the road trip through the valley to the station sometime during our stay.
Back at the entrance to Mavora Lakes a cloud of choking dust announced another arrival. We quickly wound the windows up as they passed by.
This swamp was near the bottom of the south lake, around the edges beautifully coloured tussocks, and red grasses grew and underfoot in many places it was thick with sphagnum moss. Going by a few footprints that disappeared into a muddy mess a few people have got sucked in, literally!
At the northern end of the North Lake a 16km 4WD track runs along the edge of the lake past Careys Hut & up the valley to Boundary Hut, both which are located on the Mavora-Greenstone Walkway- a misnomer as it's actually a tough tramping track through mountain passes that joins up with Caples Track & eventually the Routeburn Track near Lake Wakatipu. The walkway is also part of the Te Araroa Walkway, an incredible 3000km route that stretches from Cape Reinga in the north of New Zealand to Bluff in the south. During our two weeks we met quite a number of hikers doing the 3000km walk, Mavora was an overnight stop and they often set up their tents just down the way from our site.
We drove a little way down the track when exploring but decided we'd do the trip later the next week. Unfortunately the weather changed and after the busy weekend when there were quite a few quad bikes travelling on the track, it cut up really bad and we had to give it a miss.