Robert Long and his family - wife Catherine, and children Christan now 24 and Robin 21 - live in complete isolation, in a hut two days' walk south of Haast in South Westland. Robert has lived there for nearly 35 years; Catherine for 25 and their children most their lives. Their only contact with the outside world is a helicopter or plane once a month, and two trips a year to the 'outside world'.
The family's experiences over the years, living self-sufficiently and forging close bonds with the natural environment provide an inspiring story of one man's decision to 'drop out' of capitalist society and successfully establish a lifestyle most of us can't even imagine, harking back to the days of the earliest pioneers. Both have written books about their experience living off the grid and raising two children.
Christan and Robin now both have lives away from Gorge River but return to Gorge River regularly. They were both schooled at home and only went to a normal school for their last year: both went to Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka where they were able to adapt to a very different schooling schedule. Since then they have been working and travelling throughout the world.