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