On our first day in the Fiordland we managed to visit quite a few places around Lake Te Anau. But we wanted to explore one more place before we settled in for the evening in Te Anau Downs. I spoke to a couple of locals who suggested that we drive down to the Boyd Creek Track. We didn’t know anything about it, apart from we needed to look for a sign by a gate on the right side of the road to Milford Sound. So we set off, found the sign and decided to take a peek at this less-famous walk. The path led us through an incredibly mossy forest. We got to meet a whole range of chatty, fluffed up birds. And then we got chased out of the forest by some sandflies that decided I was the tastiest thing they’d eaten all summer!
We didn’t make it all the way up to the Boyd Creek Tops, but I thought the track was so pretty that I wanted to share it.
Boyd Creek Track – the basics
Distance: 6.5 km (one way)
Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours to the highest point
What to bring: Bug spray! Those blooming sandflies were pretty bad in this forest.
Read through the 10 essentials.
How hard is it: We only did the first part of the walk, which was pretty easy. However if you plan to make it up the hill, it sounds like a more intermediate level tramp. Sometimes the path was hard to spot through the forest.
Map: I didn’t see this walk listed on any local brochures, but I found a map for it here.
The road to Milford Sound
Firstly, I just need to mention how blooming lovely the drive to Milford Sound can be! The road is well paved and there are gorgeous views of mountains in all directions! The trailhead for Boyd Creek Track is part way along this road, so if you’re starting at Te Anau, you’ll have to drive through this prettiness!
Boyd Creek Track
There is a sign on the main road to Milford Sound that leads through a gate and down a firm-ish path to a car park. Once you make it to the Boyd Creek Track, the path is pretty easy to follow.
Mossy Forest walk
You will head into one of the most mossy forests I have ever seen! There were different kinds of mosses growing all over the path, and on the ground between trees and on the tree trunks. It’s like the whole forest is a fluffy like Oscar the Grouch.
The ground is a bit like a soft, green carpet!
Sorry if I am going on too much about this moss! But when you look closely at it, each patch is different. I took sooo many photos, but I am trying to be restrained, so here are just a couple of close-ups.
We found one tree stump that had more than fifteen totally different mosses. I love the large pom-pom-like patches.
The whole walk is enchanting…well, the parts we saw anyway! Lots of the trees seemed ancient. I am now so use to the pine trees in BC, that is was fun to see such a variety of deciduous trees.
We actually only walked for a few kilometers on this trail, and then we got distracted by all the birds. This little fella was dancing around, singing and generally seemed confused as to why we were in his patch. He moved reeeeally fast, but as he seemed to want to meet us. I spent quite a while attempting to take his photo in manual mode.
Later on, this little bird was chilling in a tree with a fluffy bird attempting to court her.
This was the dude tweeting to get her attention. He was really funny. He kept flying around our heads and landing on branches right next to us. We weren’t sure if he was trying to chase us off, or get our attention…but it was fun to try and take his photo. After he saw us, he fluffed up all his feathers to make himself into a little fuzz-ball.
So, as you can see, we got so distracted taking photos of birds and moss, that we didn’t actually walk very far. The Boyd Creek track is meant to be 6.5km, but we managed less than half of that. Theeen, we learnt about sandflies. When I say learnt, I mean we both were bitten by sandflies. I did have some after-bug-bite cream in my bag, but even with that, the bites were soooo itchy! They were so itchy that neither of us was keen to continue the whole walk if that meant we’d be eaten more by the little buggers! If you’ve never heard of a sandflies; They are horrible! I was bitten through socks and leggings even though I was wearing deet-filled bug spray. One of my bites made my ankle swell up to become a cankle the following day. It was all pretty gross.
So, we escaped, out of the forest and back to Te Anau Downs to drink wine and itch our sandfly bites.
Even with bastard sandflies, I still really loved everything we did near Te Anau. I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll like them too! Here are some of the other fun things we did with our first day near Te Anau:
- Kepler Track – We had a quick taster of one of the 10 Great Walks along this pleasant track along the rainbow river
- Te Anau Glowworm Caves – We experienced a tour to see some glowworms and got to see new star constellations inside a cave! I loved these pretty light-filled larvae.
- Mistletoe Lake – This was the lovely mini-hike around a lake near the start of the Milford Track