Like many of our weekends, we were off hiking recently – this time to the Mt. Burns Tarns. A tarn is a small pond or lake that sits on the side of a mountain and they are formed by glacial activity, freeze-thaw conditions and erosion by ice. Photographers and hikers are drawn to them because they tend to be a little remote, they’re very picturesque and they’re also very relaxing and serene.
Unlike in the United States, a great deal of New Zealand’s more remote country is not very accessible by land vehicles. These Kiwis like to tramp! But, the Mt. Burns Tarns are easily accessible from the Borland Road in Fiordlands National Park. Borland Road is basically a utility service road so that the electric company can keep track of its transmission line pylons from the Manapouri Hydro station up and over the Hunter Mountains as the line works its way south and east towards Invercargill and the Tiwai Aluminum Smelter.
Driving to the Mt. Burns Tarns parking area on the Borland Road is pretty straightforward. But, once the hike starts, it’s fairly vertical. The hiking is through mounds of tussock grass along the ridge of a hill; it’s a long kilometer from the car park to the beginning of the tarns and even longer when your kids are whining. But, once you get up to the tarns, the views are wonderful!
46 S EnZed signing off…