Sunday, 10 January 2016

Back in the Land of the Living

We're back in the land of the living, we've returned to civilization and the cellphone. We're now parked up in Te Anau at the new NZMCA Park, after spending 25 glorious days off the grid and out of internet & cellphone range, camping at Mavora Lakes in Northern Southland, right on the edge of Fiordland National Park and at least 40km inland from Mossburn along a dry and dusty gravel road.

We had fantastic weather for most of our stay; one wild night of rain a couple of days after we arrived, a couple of overcast days during and three wind beaten days to finish with.  The remainder of the time was hot and sunny, we even had two heavy frosts. But it was very dry and dusty and every vehicle, bike and caravan arriving over the last 3 weeks has arrived caked in thick dust. Any movement through the camp created clouds of choking dust, luckily for us the lake breeze blew the dust away from our site. 

The surrounding bush is also very dry, with the beautiful emerald green mosses that carpet the forest floor dead and dying. Rain is definitely needed very soon. One benefit of the dry weather was that there were mostly no sandflies. We'd purchased a new insect proof sun shelter which worked well and provided relief when there were sandflies about. There's a funny story to tell you about the shelter but that'll have to wait until I get up to the Mavora blogs.

 The fishing was also great!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year, here's a photo of my matagouri Christmas tree which I decorated.  

I'm looking forward to posting the backlog of blog posts for you and hopefully catching up to date. Although there has been a couple of minor hitches there too (and they could have quite easily become major)- I thought I'd moved out of technology range while we were at the lakes but no it caught up with me there too. First my laptop charging cable died on me so I couldn't recharge my computer to process my photos or write the blogs. Luckily David's laptop cable was able to charge my computer but at a lower wattage so I had to turn the laptop off each time I ran out of battery and wait for it to charge. It takes an age to charge and doesn't last as long so I'm doing things in short bursts. Hopefully we'll get a new cable couriered down tomorrow.

The second thing was much more serious- this morning as I gathered the gear to put in the ute before we pulled away from the site, I realized my cell phone was missing. How could that be? There's no reception, I haven't been using it for anything other than mapping our walks and calling in birds with my bird song recordings. And it would have to be on the last bloody day. We turned the van upside down and I was convinced David had misplaced it (he's been checking a few apps on there lately in preparation for his new phone). I knew I had it yesterday afternoon when I went looking for birds over the swingbridge. 

Long story short (well short for me)- we couldn't find it so decided to hitch up and head off until we got back into phone reception so we could call my phone to see if it rang and I'd be able to locate it in the van (if it hadn't run out of juice). 20kms later we dial the phone and no it doesn't answer, so David unhitches and I leave him on the side of the road with the 5th-wheeler and drive all the way back to the lake to check out the track I walked yesterday. 

I ask a tenting family that are about to load their trailer and leave the area near the track entrance, if they've found a phone, no, they haven't but a guy on a mountainbike was looking for one too. I retrace my steps and find the half dozen logs I sat on or kicked apart for the robins- no phone and my memory tells me when I last knew it was in my pocket- just before I crossed the swingbridge. 

I cross back over and find another tenting family packing up. I ask them and they say 'yes'. They say what? YES, they've found a phone and it wasn't the guy on the mountainbikes' either. He'd already checked. I couldn't believe it when the woman reached into the car and brought out my phone! Her daughter had found it yesterday, out on the grass patch nearby. Right where I'd stopped to talk to fellow movanners after rescuing a plastic gold panning dish that had blown off down the road; it must have slipped out of my pocket as I bent over to pick the pan up. Twenty minutes later and they'd have disappeared down the road and back home to Invercargill with my phone. How's that for jammy luck! :)

So then it's back down the road to the van, hitch up again and wind our dusty way to Te Anau, arriving a couple hours later than anticipated.

And now my laptop is running low on battery and I want to post this tonight so I'm going to sign off before it shuts down, without doing a check over so excuse any mistakes. It'll take me a day of two to catch up on laundry and shopping and then I'll be back to posting blogs. Catch you then!


  1. Another intriguing blog header photo! Did you take it from the middle of the lake? The 5th-wheeler is as cute as a toy car at the foot of Thomson Mountains (?). This is one of the few campsites that I dreamed of going but had to give it a miss due to time constraint. We took a photo at the junction of Mavora Lakes Road with SH94, consoling ourselves we'll save it for another trip. We were rather happy seeing the small patch of lupins near the junction. Of course that was before we came to see the mass of lupins in Tekapo!

    1. Hi offstone, yes from the middle of the lake, although it's not too far to the other side there, the lake narrows down before it flows down the Mararoa River to South Mavora Lake and yes those are the Thomson Mountains.Very good you've been doing your homework! :) More lupin photos to come soon, too.


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