The Gateway to the Fiordlands

Before we began our adventure in Fiordlands National Park we made some WOLO-stops just outside the park’s border to ensure that we got the most out of Southland as humanly possible (it may be awhile before we get back to the south of the South, afterall)!  

Our first stop at Clifden Caves provided the perfect WOLO-ing opportunity.  This cave system is one of the least visited in the South Island due to little publicity and, therefore, offered one of the best underground adventures yet! These caves provided an hour of difficult scrambling through amazing limestone features (stalactites, stalagmites, flow stone, soda straws, etc.) and unexpected fun around every turn – deep cave swimming holes (yikes!), 12-foot ladders to climb up, and then 12-foot ladders to climb back down.  In addition to climbing, squeezing, clambering, and splashing we enjoyed our first-ever sub-terranean WOLO-brews at just the right cave temperature (this comes highly recommended for all you spelunkers out there, just be sure to always take your rubbish with you)!

“I ain’t never been the Barbie doll type…”


“I’m a redneck woman…”


“ain’t no high class broad…”


“I’m just a product of my raisin’…”


“I say, ‘Hey, Y’all’ and ‘Yee-haw’…”

Reemerging into the daylight covered in an assortment of cave mud and cave water we drove north to Lake Manapouri where we enjoyed a day walk (we actually made this a day jog) along the popular Kepler Track!  After 45-minutes we veered to the left toward Shallow Bay (more obscure than it’s neighbor Moturau), continued just a wee bit further, and then dove into the water, birthday suits and all, with a few bottles of biodegradable soap and some amazing views to keep us company!

“in my neck of the woods…”


“here’s to all my sisters out there keeping it country…”


“let me get a big ‘hell yeah’…”


“Helllll yeaaah!”

Next stop:  Fiordlands National Park

Song lyrics: Gretchen Wilson “Redneck Woman”

Go.  Change your state of mind.

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