Ever since our first Fiordland coastal trip from Doubtful down to Dusky in 2010, we have discussed many times the possibility of paddling around the South Island. We hadn’t however until a couple of months ago, contemplated the idea of attempting the trip in winter- something that we recently found out has never been done before. Working seasonal jobs tends to leave us always pondering our next big move, adventure or whatever life has to throw at us when the summer ends. We talked about finding jobs for the winter and doing a circumnavigation the following summer. But the more we talked, the more we realized that we should just do it now before we get old and boring.
So one day in Queenstown in early February, a plan was made. We would leave from Milford late autumn and head north. We would get the West Coast over and done with early in the game and make the most of our daylight hours before they slipped away in June and July. After rounding the top of the South Island, we’d head down the East Coast, picking up our already packed food supplies in Christchurch, and then Dunedin before the critical turning point at Bluff. Instead of heading west towards Puysegur Point and the Fiordland Coast, we planned on shooting over the waters of Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island. We’d do a loop around the island, exploring along the way before crossing the strait again for Riverton. From there, the Fiordland Coast up to our finishing point in Milford will be a cruisy paddle in familiar waters.
So that’s the plan, the countdown is on and in 10 days time we should be out of here. This summer has been by far the best that we have seen since we’ve been down in Te Anau. That must mean that this winter will be good too.. hopefully the weather gods are kind to us, otherwise this adventure could take a very long time!!