Snow fell all night, but with a warm morning sun it began to melt, and by early afternoon, Andy announced the roads were clear and the Homer Tunnel had reopened. But the one-way tunnel would likely be jammed with tour buses headed into Milford Sound and the wait interminable.
Suffering from cabin fever, we took Andy’s suggestion to go tramping on the Humboldt Falls Track in Fiordland National Park. As we pulled out of the driveway from the lodge to the main road, we immediately knew we had made the right decision in avoiding the Homer Tunnel. Ahead of us stretched approximately five tour buses. With a clean line of sight, we carefully counted nine. When we were able, we passed them and continued on to the falls.
Well into the two-hour trip, we were wondering when the road would split, with the left turn going to Milford and the right turn heading to the falls. Even after we found Hollyford Road, we still had quite a ways to go on an unsealed gravel road. But we couldn’t get too lost, as we discovered that just beyond the trailhead the road dead-ended at the roaring Hollyford River.
The trail to the falls was well marked and the track itself well-maintained. Any concerns we had about the snow making the path muddy or impassible were soon dispelled as we started our short climb through the rainforest. Despite the long drive from Te Anau to the trailhead at the end of Hollyford Road, Andy’s suggestion was a great one. We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and loved being greeted in the parking lot to the trail by a cheeky kea bird.
Read more about those cheeky kea birds: https://patkrapf.com//2017/11/02/new-zealand-te-anau-day-2/
Gunn’s Camp is an interesting stop along Hollyford Road. Read more: http://www.gunnscamp.org.nz/history-of-gunns-camp/
Weather report: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/69617329/New-Zealand-drops-to-20C-below-freezing