Having left the coast, we decided to head further south to go and check out Milford Sound. We were still keen to do another overnighter somewhere in the area, and after a bit of researching we decided to check out Green Lake.
We drove down to Te Anau, and purchased our hut ticket from the visitors centre before driving further south for an hour to reach Lake Monowai, near the town of Monowai. The start of the track is well-signposted and can be found just before reaching Lake Monowai, with room for a couple of cars to park.
The beginning of the track is a nice, easy walk through the forest that is similar to certain areas of SW Tassie. We stopped briefly to check out a small bird that was standing very upright and was hopping fearlessly around us; I later found out that it was a South Island Robin, which are know to be very friendly and have an unusual upright posture. Before long the track starts to climb, and we passed a few walkers that were heading back down, as well as a couple who were also on their way up. To my surprise, there were certain sections that were pretty boggy, even after a solid week of warm weather. We reached a small creek after 8.2kms in 2hours and 20min, that provided a good spot for a snack and a refill. Shortly after, we left the forest and crossed a grassy plain- from here, the track climbs a bit more before reaching the highest point and dropping back down along the shore of Green Lake. By this stage we were getting pretty tired, and keen to reach the hut.
From the highest point it took a further 50 minutes to reach the hut on the northern shore of the lake, and we were welcomed by a Swiss student who was spending a few days up there to study for some upcoming exams. After a quick swim to cool down, we set ourselves up inside and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and taking photos. Later on we were joined by the two we passed earlier on that day, a Canadian girl who had invited her father over to NZ while she was studying there. Just before dark, the mist came over the mountains from the west and completely blanketed the lake, transforming the place into something from a horror movie. The hut itself was really well set up, with enough room for about 10 people, a good-sized open area and the mattresses are comfortable. There is also a woodheater for the colder months, as well as a toilet and woodshed out the back.
On the way back down I decided to check out a smallish lake just off the track; to do so, I thought the best way to get to it would be to follow it’s outlet creek up from the main track (Creek1 on GPS track). This creek can be found just before entering the grassy area if you are walking towards the hut. The first part was a bit of a scrub bash through some old trees, but once I was out of the forest it was an easy walk straight up to the lake. Emily had decided not to come check out the lake, and instead sat by our packs. When I returned she told me that she had been visited by a stoat, a small weasel-like animal that was introduced to NZ to help control the rabbit population. Unfortunately, they are now a big problem as they are known to eat the eggs of nesting birds.
We then walked straight back to the car and continued back up to Te Anau and onto the next part of the trip.
On the way up: 12.4kms in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
The way back with a small detour: 13.3kms in 4hours and 20 minutes.