Visiting Gorge River

Gorge River with DOC hut on the right and Chris's house on the leftIf you didn’t know already, on a stretch of coastline on the West Coast of New Zealand, roughly halfway between Milford Sound and Haast, there is a place called Gorge River. Beside this river there is a small DOC hut and beside that hut there is a house. To get there, it is either a two day walk or a 20-minute helicopter ride. This house in its remote setting is where my friend Chris grew up and in March 2018 I joined him as he headed home to visit his family. This is what we got up to:

 

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Packing the helicopter

After first settling in and catching up with Chris’s parents we went hunting! It was my first-time deer hunting. I had been possum and rabbit shooting before but I wondered how I would go with something bigger. We didn’t have any luck the first evening but on the second day we got a deer! The deer was dinner for several meals that week. We had venison steak, roast, mince and even some of it got turned into jerky! Oh, and Chris made pate but this was not to my taste (sorry Chris!). We also went fishing for some Kahawai in the river mouth. These are decent sized fish and put up a good fight. After battling with the sandflies and my first fish escaping, I managed (with help from Chris) to land a decent fish. We ate some of it as sashimi and some of it battered and the rest we smoked in a homemade smoker we quickly put together. It was delicious!!  All the meat we caught was eaten along with fresh veges from Chris’s mums garden. You can’t beat home grown veges, especially Chris’s mums home bottled beetroot.

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On the way back from deer hunting
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Our Kahawai catch
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Smoking our catch

When we weren’t out catching our dinner, we were either relaxing and reading, working on the airstrip or sewing possum hats.  The possum hats are an invention of Chris’s. Originally he designed and made one for himself on the first of his Antarctica adventures then he begun selling them. They are seriously amazing, it is the warmest hat you will ever own. The possums are caught by his dad and tanned in Invercargill. Chris then sews them when he is home. I haven’t really sewed that much in the past but under Chris’ direction I learnt how to put these together, it was a lot of fun.

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Sewing hats
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The finished product

After a week at Chris’s home it was time to start our next adventure. Thank you to the Long family for having me to stay! If you want to know anything else about Chris’s home you can visit his blog: https://wildkiwi.org/

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