A quick Google search of Island Forks in the Tararua Forest Park doesn’t give much away – a couple brief mentions in tramping logs, and short blogs by trampers detailing less than pleasant off-track travel to the area. Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t sure what sort of country to expect when I found out I would be staying a few nights there for work. I would be carrying out mustelid and possum monitoring along existing lines, meaning much of where I went would be dictated by the lines I was assigned, rather than the routes that looked like the easiest travel.

We ended up spending three nights at Island Forks biv, and had the typical spread of Tararua weather – beautiful sunshine to heavy rain. My monitoring lines took me up Prout Stream, up to pt957, and back down the spur to the biv. This was plenty of time to become acquainted with the slippery river rocks, mossy goblin forest, green boulders covered in thick layers of moss, lush overhanging trees lining the steep creek bed, and small, fast flowing creeks and small rivers full of little waterfalls.

The short trip reminded me how nice the New Zealand backcountry is, and I remarked to my colleague that you don’t need to travel to the usual Instagram hotspots for a nice scenic shot of New Zealand – just put your boots on and go for a hike!