Gorgeous greens at the beginning of the Routeburn

The Routeburn track is one of New Zealand's so-called Great Walks (aka tramping tracks), but you don't have to go far at all to enjoy the wonderful greens of the beech forest - there is an easy nature walk at the beginning of the track.

Crossing the first swingbridge over the Route Burn, itself a lovely aqua colour, you see the banks covered with the greens of ferns, grasses, mosses, tree seedlings, some lichens.

Soft mosses cover almost everything, and the fine green foliage of the beech trees creates a very dreamy peaceful atmosphere.

A profusion of mosses, filmy ferns, and the dangling little white flowers of Luzuriaga parviflora - a native plant new to me but found throughout the country in cool wet mountain forests.

Lots of trickling water and little rivulets.

Ferns were the predominant ground cover in the somewhat drier areas.

But mostly it was moist and mossy, a perfect environment for filmy ferns - I was delighted to see such extensive groups of these tiny delicate treasures.

Mosses were covering one half of this large rock, filmy ferns were most prominent on the other half.  Unfortunately I didn't have a suitable lens to take close-ups of the filmy ferns, mosses etc.  Next time!

Closer to the river the forest was more open.

Looking back at the terrain that the Routeburn track enters you can see that there was no shortage of moisture - with mist, rain, and a recent summer snowfall in the mountains.

And as we left, the weather was closing in - a reminder of why you have to be well prepared whenever you head into the mountains - even if you are just doing a short easy walk.