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December 2014 Issue
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Forever forest

Enjoying the view across Lake Manapouri from Post Office Point. Photo: Edith Leigh
3-3.5hr to Rainbow Reach
Start from the northern end of Frazers Beach, or from the lake viewpoint in Manapouri take the top track through the bush above Frazers Beach Rd
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Post Office Point, Manapouri

The route to Post Office Rock in Manapouri is so little known that chances are even if you ask a local about it you’re likely to be met with a blank stare.

Minimal signposting can make it tricky to even get started, but once on your way the unofficial route opens up an opportunity to walk from Manapouri to Te Anau.

Formed mostly by volunteers, the track starts out a little rough and muddy, but gradually becomes easy going through open beech forest. A careful eye needs to be kept on the tattered pink ribbon and old butcher’s apron strips, which mark the way, as the track is faint in places and it’s easy to be led astray.

I set off with my mum on a hot, late spring afternoon, from the northern end of Frazers Beach. After initially finding ourselves in a farmer’s paddock, we back-tracked, found where we had missed the track, and then it was an enjoyable hour’s walk to Post Office Point.

The track initially forces its way through thick manuka scrub, which closes in densely on either side. Once in the beech forest there is a feeling of not being on a track at all, as it obviously doesn’t get a lot of traffic and we certainly met no one.

The beech trees along this edge of Lake Manapouri are draped with thick swathes of old man’s beard, and the forest gives a feeling of having been there forever.

At Post Office Point it was time for a cool down in the lake before carrying on another half an hour to Supply Bay Road. Our plan was to walk back the way we had come and then finsih the walk to Rainbow Reach the next day.

The second half of the route from Supply Bay Road follows the Waiau River through beech forest before tracking into open manuka scrubland. From the bend in the river at Boulder Reach, follow your nose along the river, 4WD tracks and open grassy areas. The route is not marked but easy to follow. From Rainbow Reach you can cross the river and take the Kepler Track to the Control Gates and on to Te Anau.

The route is easy, flat walking, which can be as long or as short as suits, although care needs to be taken to make sure you stay on the route.