Two old wrinklies with two west highland terriers Traveling New Zealand

Off the Grid – Orc Hunting

Day 1 – Fanghorn Forest

We left Hamilton Burn early in the morning (temperature overnight had dropped to under 0 degrees), while the earth was still frozen and had no difficulty extricating ourselves from the farm. We thanked Macka for his hospitality and gave him a donation for power/water  use and headed towards Lake Mavora.

We had emailed- Invercargill DOC and checked the conditions advising them of our capacity/abilities and asked about cell ph coverage/campground conditions/other considerations and received a response advising us to just use common sense and consider the conditions (not park in the mud etc).

Lake Mavora is where they filmed the Fanghorn Forest scenes and when the fellowship split up.


The road in is mainly metal but in great condition and the scenery is spectacular!!! We entered Fanghorn forest but did not spot any Ents, hobbits, elves or orcs so thought it safe to continue. We checked out several of the camping areas but wanted to ensure that our choice did not end in us having to walk out 20km to arrange a tow. We are close to the swing bridge  (much to Rosie’s disgust) and near the boat ramp and there have been several cars with hikers or boaties so hopefully if we need help it may be close to hand.


As you can see, it is freezing lol


Our camp is set up in the location where the fellowship split up with Frodo and Sam sneaking off in a boat while the camp is under attack and again the scenery is full of LOTR atmosphere……..I can see why they chose the location.

Great location to practice more fly fishing!!


It is early evening and we are sitting down to a pre-dinner cocktail while temperatures outside keep plummeting………while the view is crystal clear.


Tonight’s dinner – roast chicken with vegetables & garlic mash

Day 2 Unverified Orc sighting

The day broke and the sun shone over Fanghorn Forest and we started the day with coffee and breakfast. We did our bit by cleaning the DOC toilet and Rodney went wood foraging with Mac-Rose who did their rabbit poo scavenging. Whilst in the forest Mac-Rose thought they sighted an orc but this is indeed unverified at this time.

Rod then went trout fishing but the target species has at this time continued to elude him.


We thought we would be experiencing solitude in the wilderness but there have been comings and goings of vehicles of all makes and models including two other campervans.  We had a moment of concern when a vehicle pulled in behind us just after midnight – I was thinking of all the horror movies I have ever watched but they left soon after. In hindsight they were probably just looking for a camp site – not sure why they would be doing that at that late hour but……..

Decided to have a bonfire after our T-bone steak dinner…..the sun had been shining and Mac-Rose took the most of the opportunity to sun-bathe.


It was enjoyable although colddddddddd having evening drinks under the stars lol


The snow continues to elude me…..starting to take it personally now.  The ice in the puddles is not longer solid and although it is cold we are well-prepared for it.

Day 3 Moving On……..

Awoke to freezing cold this morning and an intermittent issue with one of our gas cylinders so made the decision to move on…………..Mr and Mrs Super Cautious!! We made our way to Te Anau to a WSS to discover that the freezing cold had caused our waste water  pipe to burst…………….a simple repair once we find a plumber……Rodney lol!!

We are currently parked up at the NZMCA park in Te Anau with a café nearby to fulfil our dietary needs although we are dining on pork belly on Dogonit this evening and may take the opportunity to eat at the café tomorrow night if we are still here. Our neighbours are a caravan (we are having happy hour with them late afternoon and a pack of alpacas or llamas (not sure which)………it is a lovely quiet location.



We also met up with the Te Anau NZMCA custodian and when Rod mentioned he was taking a trip to Placemakers for some plumbing parts they generously offered him a ride. He has repaired the pipe which means we can dump our water as usual (yay!!).

So as the sun sinks slowly over the yardarm we will say goodnight here in the depths of the South Island!!

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