Summer Roadtrip! Final Part 3: The Deep South

Te Anau and the Kepler Great Walking track was our first spot of Part 3 of our trip.

This is a 62km hike through pristine native bush and mountains. This whole area is open hunting land, so we took our rifles along for the trip as there are many stories of animals popping up around the place. 

Like all tracks in New Zealand, our freedom camping bill allows you to camp anyone 500m from the track on any public land or basically anywhere out of track sight. A real bonus when hut fees this time of year is $110 per person per night. So don't worry if you haven't booked. Just grab a tent and get out there.
Then for a quick trip to the stunning Milford sounds. One of New Zealand's most famous and scenic spots.

This place is full of thousands of waterfalls cascading down jagged rock faces and plummeting down to eventually join the ocean sean in the sounds. It's best to head into the sounds when it has been raining. The waterfalls come out in full glory and are pouring out of the mountain tops. 

With the many great canterbury lakes of old to explore, we picked one for a quick inbetweener.

These are always extremely remote and full of river crossings. Being experienced with 4wding, we have absolutely no experience with South Island rivers! Even though the 76 is capable of most anything, we are not. So after some fooling around we hit our limit of competence and didn't head further in. The end of these ranges will be for conquering another day. 

For early January we expected to see people. However, we saw almost nobody. There are just too many places to go and not many capable trucks. It’s so great being still in holiday season and isolated. It is quite strange driving for 3-4 hours in NZ and not seeing another soul.
Many of these mountain peaks are great hikes. It is covered in glaciers and snow tops. This is just as scenic as any NZ great walk or the Kepler which we just did. With the absence of crowds and expense. We climbed a few mountains here and explored some river beds and seldom used off-road tracks. Many of which seem to be done on ATVs mostly. 

As the weather was rainy and stormy on the west coast, we stayed remote and inland for another four days. When the sun came back out Arthur’s pass was our route to the west. The original plan was to do the southern pass to Haast, but now time was an issue. Arthur’s pass is a scenic and history pass that connects the east and west coasts together. Full of native birds, you're likely to see the Kia being a general nuisance to the cafes and vehicles. We found some nice remote campsites around this area, and the favourite spot was the Devils punchbowl falls — a 20minute wall to the misty and powerful waterfall.

Landing by the Lake Moana for a night this was truly a highlight. On the eastern side is a freedom camping site we spent a whole day here. The hike up to Mt Te-Kings is worth the trek, and the whole mountain is open hunting land with a ton of animal sign. This lake had one of the most beautiful sunsets combined with an evening swim. Can’t be beaten.

Into the city of Greymouth and short of time the only spot we hit up was the monteith brewery. And what a cool spot! I highly recommend doing the beer tour for $25 and getting your three drinks included. Food was a letdown, but the beer and entertainment were on form. Off to the beach for the night. It is so entertaining seeing the regular campervans stuck in the carpark and driving straight past then onto the beach and a few km up to a totally remote spot to light a fire. The pancake rocks were up next. 

This concludes our summer travels.
New Zealand is a wondrous place to travel and a must-do in a 4wd.
We never once paid for camping as all were on free camping sites and public land. Do your research before leaving home because when the weather changes, it is a good idea to have backup plans. Rain can rapidly raise the river levels and make crossings impossible. So neither do you want to be stuck out in the wilderness or head along the way not to be able to cross.