Not wasting any time after finishing the Kepler Track, I got straight back on the road and headed up the Milford Road, past Lake Te Anau, to Gunn's Camp at Hollyford. While walking the Kepler Track, I'd decided on my next plan: to conquer the Hollyford Track. The Hollyford Track is a step up from the Kepler Track, being a 56km track from the road end to the sea... and another 56km back again. The track is much tougher and the overall distance much longer – 112km there and back compared to 67km for the Kepler round trip – but I was feeling pretty confident after and didn't feel at all tired, so the Hollyford it was. I'd already stocked up with ten days' worth of food just in case, so after a night at Gunn's Camp, I headed for the start of the track.
You might be wondering what a tramper has to carry on his or her back for a walk like this; well, for a nine-day hike like the Hollyford, it's a hell of a lot. For a start, this is Fiordland, so you need clothes for all types of weather, from boiling sun to freezing hail, so the clothes take up a fair amount of weight, with waterproof tops and bottoms, long trousers, shorts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, plenty of socks, swimming trunks... and more. Then there's the food for ten days (and always take a spare day or two, just in case you get stranded), which in my case included 1kg of muesli, powdered milk, 40 Ryvita, cheese, meat paste, seven packets of rice, four tins of tuna, tomato paste, spices, coffee, sugar... all ready to be split into strict daily rations. Throw in my Trangia cooker and half a litre of meths, and it's getting heavier. Add in a sleeping bag and inflatable pillow, a toiletries/first aid bag, and things like torches, candles, compass, maps, books and so on, and you have your survival pack for over a week.
I could hardly lift the thing as I set off for the track, but the pack gets lighter as you eat your way through your supplies. You also get fitter as you progress, so one thing's for sure: that first lift is always the worst.