Te Anau: Squishy ground and sorcery at Henry Creek Campsite

Henry Creek has to be the most Lord-of-the-Rings’y place we visited in New Zealand.

There’s something magical about this chilly place, where clouds hover just below the tip of high mountain peaks, the ground beneath your feet squishes, and pebbles line the shores of a huge lake.


On the morning of day 7, we chose to leave Wanaka and head straight for Te Anau – instead of sticking around Wanaka for one more day to hike Roys Peak.

Yeah, we were dying to do that hike, but with clouds covering the tip of the mountain, and a forecast of rain, we decided to make our way down to Fiordland National Park. We’d actually left this out of our itinerary up until now, because we didn’t think we’d have enough time to explore everything else.

When we got to Te Anau around 2pm, we found a dump station to get rid of our filthy sink water, and were thrilled to find public hot showers. Te Anau’s public hot showers will cost you $5, and you’ll get a little private room to wash the camping germs away.

We pulled up to Henry Creek Campsite ($13) and picked a neat little spot nestled between the mossy trees, a few metres from Te Anau Lake.



We took a short leisurely stroll up the path to reach Henry Creek, where we skipped some rocks, and stretched the legs – in thongs, thanks to those pesky blisters.

On our way back to the van, I spotted a long rope hanging from a tree just off the track. As we walked between the trees, I felt my feet squish into the mossy ground. There must be some scientific explanation for this – but we’d never felt our feet sink into the ground like that. We’re still wondering wtf happened… (Someone please explain?)

First, we tugged on the rope to test it’s strength before taking a seat on the little piece of wood tied to the bottom.

Putting all my faith in a piece of polyester, Mark pushed me, and I swung back and forth… for about 30 seconds until it got boring.

Now, if you’ve ever seen the Blair Witch Project, you’ll agree that the assortment of branches (below) and rocks resemble something eerily similar to the sorcery depicted in the film.


Will the twisted human that strung these sticks up please show themselves and explain.

Just beside the rope swing, someone has taken the time to string up long sticks. I’m not sure how bored you’d have to be to set this up – but we ain’t stickin’ round for long enough to get a case of cabin fever that bad…

For dinner, we’d very wisely bought a soft taco kit and some mince to cook up. Safe to say this Mexican feast was one of the best meals we’d tucked in to for an entire week.

We got chatting with a few fellow travellers from the States, before tucking ourselves in for another early night before a long day of sight-seeing and walking Milford Sound.


Cheers to the freakin’ rain.



Someone took the time to make this Tee-Pee.

Where we stayed:

  • Henry Creek Campsite
  • $13 per person (per vehicle if you can get away with it)
  • Drop dunnies are available. They aren’t pleasant.
  • Plenty of spots to park the van.
  • Ground is covered in sticks, so didn’t look too appealing if you were sleeping in a tent.
  • Lots of little wooden tables to sit and eat.
  • Beautiful views of Te Anau lake and the mountains around.
  • Great place to stop on the way to Milford Sound.

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March 30, 2017

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