From moun­tains to sea

Sarah Cather­all digs out her tramp­ing boots and heads south to hit the Hol­ly­ford Track.

The Press - Escape - - TRAMPING -

Me­an­der­ing over tracks be­neath dark, na­tive bush, we walk to the rem­nants of one of New Zealand’s ghost towns. Dead ap­ple trees and a small plaque are all that re­main of Jamestown, that in 1870 had a sprin­kling of houses and was sup­posed to be a port. It was here, in thick bush in what is now Fiord­land Na­tional Park, that an early set­tler, Mar­garet McKen­zie, gave birth alone on a bed sur­rounded by flood wa­ters.

To get to this spot, we travel by jet boat, coast­ing over Lake McKer­row, hug­ging into our rain­coats to shel­ter us from the buf­fet­ing rain. Jamestown is one of the sur­prises of this guided walk – our guide, Gra­ham Scott, tells us about the McKen­zie fam­ily who con­tin­ued to live nearby even when the set­tle­ment was aban­doned in 1879, and about the few houses that were built here and left to ruin. The planned com­mer­cial port was con­sid­ered too cut off from the rest of the prov­ince to be vi­able, and the McKen­zie fam­ily even­tu­ally moved on, although they con­tin­ued to live in a fairly des­o­late, re­mote part of this stretch of the coun­try, in Martins

Over­view: The Lower Hol­ly­ford Val­ley, Lake McKer­row, left, and Lake Alabaster.

Step­ping out: Hol­ly­ford hik­ers tackle the Lit­tle Homer Sad­dle.

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