Had a slight sleep in this morning but still managed to pack up and get away at 0730. Today we aimed to walk down to SH94 and then along to Princhester Rd intersection (around 12km of flat road walking) before starting the hitch, off-trail, into Te Anau.
It was around 10.5km to SH94 which we covered in a whisker over 2 hours, passing relatively few cars in the way. We started walking along SH94 to our TA turnoff at Princhester Rd, so we're walking against the traffic as usual so no-one would think we were hitchhiking. However, before we could get to Princhester Rd a couple of girls (English and Israeli) stopped on the other side of the road to ask if we wanted a lift into Te Anau. I suggested to Belinda that we shouldn't be looking any gift horses in the mouth, so we accepted!! So our almost 12km today took us about 2h10, classified as a ”nearo” day (for those unfamiliar, nearo is short for “near zero” - almost a rest day but not quite). :-)
So a quick 30km or so later they dropped us off, at about 1030, by the Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park in the centre of town, where we had our tent site booked. We got the tent set up and changed shirts (town clothes!) and headed straight into town for a (well-deserved in our opinion!) yummy brunch. Food and a nice drink is always first thing on the agenda after a few days in the boondocks! The camp has a lovely kitchen and lounge facility so I spent a bit of time in the lounge later doing things like charging electronics (harder when you don’t have your own power outlet in a room) and checking up on the news of the world (nothing much changes!).
We texted David, who had arrived in town yesterday with Caesar, and made a date to catch up over a pizza dinner - which we duly did, before heading back to the camp. We had another late afternoon thunderstorm while we were eating but it had cleared by the time dinner was over. As the guys had had their rest day today, they were setting off in the morning - so we said our goodbyes, although we will keep in touch via instagram etc :-) We really enjoyed David’s, and more latterly Caesar’s, company so it was sort of sad to part ways - but that’s life on the trail :-)
We got away about 0715, just after David and Caesar. This day ended up being our longest ever in terms of kilometres walked - over 42km in just under 9h15 of walking (an 11 hour day in total).
The Mavora Lakes campsite was 10 km away and was on a 4wd track all the way. The track was generally OK to walk on, although there were a few deep puddles to get around and for small parts it was on the gravelly lakeside. We met a guy heading northbound and stopped for a brief chat on the lake edge; he commented that the campsite had been a bit noisy for him (especially with offroad motorbikes zooming around all over the place) - reinforcing that it was a good decision to stay at Carey’s Hut :-). We arrived at the start of the campsite and made use of the toilets and water supplies before heading through the camp for the swingbridge at the outlet of North Mavora Lake. The campsite is very large - my estimate from maps is as much as 30ha available - although not all might be suitable for parking / pitching tents.
We crossed the swingbridge and headed down the short (~1.5km) stretch of the Mararoa River that joins North with South Mavora Lake. The first bit of this was in beech, followed by a bit of open ungrazed grassland, before we got back into beech forest to walk around the western shores of South Mavora Lake. This was a very pretty part of the walk for us :-)
A young kiwi lass called Kate caught up with us part way around and walked the rest of the way with us. She had been staying at the camp and was doing a short walk from the campground to the bottom of South Mavora Lake where there is another swingbridge that takes you back out onto Mavora Lakes Rd. Interestingly, Kate also told us that the motorbike activity around the campsite had just about driven her nuts! Just something to bear in mind if passing through during the height of the summer season - maybe camp away from the main camp ground!! The DoC sign said 2.5hr from the outlet of North Mavora Lake to the swingbridge at the end of South Mavora Lake - we did it in 1h15.
From there it was another stint of mainly pretty beech forest following the true right of the Mararoa River down to the Kiwi Burn swingbridge (about another 7km or so), which we did in 1h50 (DoC suggested time was 2.5hr). We arrived there just after 1300 so stopped for lunch for 30 minutes or so in the shade of the trees, before crossing the bridge.
We had already decided to avoid the next 18km or so or riverside trail and skip out onto the road here. Kirstine Collins had described it as the worst section of her TA back when she did it!! Also, when we met Bruce and Chris in Roses Hut a few days ago, Bruce had also described much of it as horrible - he indicated a fair bit of it was fenced off farmland on the river margin, so was full of long grass and growing scrub to battle through, with a few bogs thrown in! We can’t find anyone who really has anything good to say about this bit - hence our decision to take the road option instead :-) So after lunch it was across the Kiwi Burn swingbridge followed by a short walk up a gravel access road onto Mavora Lakes Rd. We hit the road already having completed 24.5km for the day - it would turn out to be almost another 18km down the road to where stopped for the night.
The rest of the day was just walking down the road (luckily we could walk alongside it, off the gravel, most of the way) until we reached the spot where TA joins up with Mavora Lakes Rd - a total of 42km for the day; as noted above, our longest daily kilometreage ever! It was very hot today but for once we were grateful for a gentle breeze which helped keep the temperature down a little. We had a couple of half hour stops along the way when we found some shade from shelterbelts planted near the road - it really was hot, exposed walking! There was also plenty of dust as there were numerous cars heading up and down to/from the campground.. Water was almost impossible to come by along the way (it is heavily farmed and the waterways showing on the Topo50 maps were very small/non-existent), but we made it with little to spare.
We knew that there was water by where the TA joins Mavora Lakes Rd (Wash Creek is very close and the Mararoa River not too far away also) so we shot down below the road to find a flat spot for the tent (luckily we had actually driven up here on our TA break before Xmas last year, so knew what it looked like!), dropped out packs and headed for Wash Creek! Had a nice cool wash and filtered a heap of water for tonight and tomorrow (the stream passes through a Landcorp farm). Had dinner and then set up the tent as it was still really warm - eventually getting in at about 2030 with the sun still beating down! Couldn't wait for it to cool when the sun finally went down.
Also managed to get some patchy reception here to arrange some accommodation for Te Anau. The placed is chokka, as expected, but we have a tent site for two nights in the Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park right in the middle of town (where we had also stayed before Xmas last year) - tenting is not our preferred option for a rest day but it will do!!
David, Caesar, B and I had left our packs out in the common area last night to minimise noise in the morning as we wanted to be up at 0600. We got underway around 0720. It was a bit misty around the hut at 0600 but it cleared relatively soon so didn’t affect our start. The day ended up being 29km in around 7h45 - I forgot to turn the watch back on after our stop for lunch around 1220 - so missed about 15 minutes and 1km of tracking (its easy to see the straight line on the Suunto GPS map, so I can work out how long it was off!). The GPS info is here.
We set off through beech forest knowing there were not a lot of ups and downs today, which should make for relatively easy going. Some of the beech track was “rocks and roots” which made me a little slower as I was still being very careful about where I placed my feet. In other places the underfoot was better, with a few roots and no rocks - which increased speed a little. We had our first stop after 1h40 having averaged 3.5kph to that point, so we knew we were making reasonably good time. As we got higher, we entered areas of scrub and also of tussock - with some bog areas thrown in for good measure.
We eventually dropped into the river valley, although we were walking on a sort of terrace above the river often, rather than right down by the river. We arrived at Taipo Hut just before 1030 - 2h45 walking time - so had made pretty good progress seeing as DoC times say 4-5hr! I can imagine, if it is wetter, that some of the boggy areas would be much slower going, but we managed to go over or round all the bogs pretty easily. It was a nice fine day with a gentle breeze, which helps. We had a break at the hut and were underway again after an almost 15min break - straight across a swingbridge over the upper reaches of the Mararoa River (that we would now follow, more or less for the next day and a half).
From here the first couple of kms was very easy going on a flat track before the track headed to the edge of the valley, running just at the bottom of the hills to the west of the river. This made for little ups and downs through more open scrubby/ rocky, tussocky, and occasionally boggy, terrain - so the going was slower. This was mostly the case until we hit the swingbridge across the Mararoa to Boundary Hut - this 12km or so from Taipo Hut took us about 3h15 walking time (with a long stop for lunch thrown in). After the swingbridge, the hut is actually 200m or so back upstream (easy to see on the day’s GPS track) but, as it was hot and time for a break, we headed back to it - also topping up our water while we were there.
Seriously?? The only time we have come to a fence without a stile or gate. Barbed wirw on top, so only sensible way was under without packs attached :-) B is more nimble than me so was chosen as the model for this particular photoshoot.
We rejoined the trail heading off towards Carey's Hut on a 4wd track and immediately ran into three guys on trail bikes - the only problem with getting so close to “civilisation”! The 4wd track comes as far as Boundary hut, with no vehicular access beyond that. It was only 6.5km to Carey’s Hut, but by now it was really hot so, with no shade, we started to feel the effects! At one stage I had even thought we could do another 10km to Mavora Lakes campsite but by the time we arrived at Carey's I was convinced it was a good place to stop for the day! The last 2.5km or so the track climbed above the Mararoa River on the hillside (up to 60m or so above the river at times), with a fairly sharp descent to the hut over the last little bit. David and Caesar had arrived a couple of hours before us as they are faster and don't stop much. They were lounging in the sun in a couple of deck chairs left at the hut!
The hut is right beside the lake so the guys had already been down there for a “refresh”. B and I also took off down there once our packs were off. We both had a bit of a dip in the lake and rinsed out our clothes as well - walking in this weather is very sweat-inducing :-)
We had a couple of visits from small groups of bikes - most of them are camped down at Mavora Lakes campsite. About 1800 we also had a couple of American nobos, John and Katie, drop in for a chat. They decided to push on the 1.5 hours to Boundary Hut and maybe try and get out to the Greenstone carpark the next day. So it was the four of us for the night in what is quite a pleasant 6-bunk hut.
We only ended up doing 14km of the trail today, from the lake edge (2km from the Greenstone carpark) up to Greenstone Hut. This took us 3h20 of walking time. The GPS track for the day is here.
As noted in yesterday’s blog, the plan had been for Chris to drive us round to the Greenstone trailhead (about 1.5hr drive), so we were up about 0700. Unfortunately a family emergency during the night meant that Chris and Jane were not available, so the plan changed to us taking Chris's car around for Graham/Jane W or David/Liz to pick up later, as they were still planning to take the jet boat up to Glenorchy to do some runs up the Dart River. By the time we had loaded Chris's car (about 0920) Jane W had come across to say they were about to go so we might as well go in the car with them - so another change of plan!!
With six of us in the vehicle and the jet boat in tow we set off for Glenorchy about 0930. Driving up, Graham noted that the lake was pretty calm so it was highly likely he could take us across to the Greenstone trailhead by boat rather than car - a great bit of variety for us compared to the usual walking or vehicles (and much quicker)! Having arrived in Glenorchy, the boat was duly launched and Graham and Jane took us across, dropping us off on the shore by Greenstone station at about 1130. The generosity was much appreciated :-)
The trail notes say that the section starts at the carpark (2km up the road) but the GPS track has it starting at the lake edge where we were dropped of, so who knows?! Anyway, after a quick reorganisation we set off just before 1140 for the 2km walk up a nice, quite flat, gravel road to the carpark. It was a bit murky with occasional drizzle so we started with raincoats on. A brief stop at the carpark and we were on the track up towards Greenstone Hut. As part of the well used Greenstone-Caples Track (and as access to others) this was a pretty good track, well benched and surfaced most of the way to the hut. A lot of it was through beech forest, with the odd bit of more open pasture, all the time pretty much following the Greenstone River.
There was a small amount of descent occasionally but essentially it was a nice gradual climb for most of the way. One highlight along the way was spotting another karearea (NZ falcon) sitting in a tree not far off the track. This was just before we reached the swingbridge across the Caples River just above its confluence with the Greenstone River.
Then it was about 500m of more open walking before getting back into forest closer to the true left of the Greenstone again and continuing up the river. Most of the rest of the walk was in beech forest apart from a km of more open flats starting about 5km from the hut. It is a pretty walk, and the quality of the track underfoot makes it very easy to enjoy.
My foot was going surprisingly well considering how sore it had been the last week or so - so that was a plus. B was feeling a bit off her game today after a rest so we decided we would stop at Greenstone Hut (a relatively new 20-bunk hut) rather than try and push on an additional 10km to Taipo Hut. That took the pressure off and allowed us a pleasant unrushed stop for the later afternoon and evening. David had also decided to stop here as he had found that a previous tramping companion, Caesar from California, was also here, so we caught up with him again. The hut was pretty full, as expected, with several tents set up outside as well but we found a bed each in one of the bunk rooms.
Had some lovely chats with a number of the people in the hut, including Jim and his wife Sue. Jim had done heaps of mountaineering in his life and had lots of local knowledge (despite being from Auckland!) and regaled us with some fascinating stories of climbing and tramping in the south!! Despite it being New Year's Eve, we were in bed by about 2115! Hut etiquette and tiredness rule over New Years Eve celebrations out here :-)
Today was a great chance for a rest in idyllic surroundings! My foot was really sore and I was hobbling pretty badly!! That was my excuse to put my feet up for most of the day :-) I did, however, finally managed to get some blogs done - I still couldn’t get WiFi Direct to connect the phone and camera but could connect both to J & C’s WiFi network and transfer photos that way. Nothing is ever as simple as it should be.
The others headed off for a day’s cycling up the Arrow River track - Jane S apparently persuaded Graham to head over Big Hill with her while the remainder, I believe, went up the 4wd road we had come down the day before yesterday!! No rest for the wicked.
Along with a bit of rest, Belinda had a great time harvesting produce - including apricots, cherries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. It's amazing to have all these things growing on the property - Jane and Chris are amazing the way they have such a broad range of produce growing, especially with the busy lives they lead!
After everyone was back, Jane was convinced my deep blood blister should be lanced!! I finally decided to consult our son Gray who assured me that, in theory at least, it should disperse - and that opening it up might be OK if I could keep it clean (that wasn't going to happen!) - so I decided not to accept Jane’s kind offer of surgery!! We had a lovely dinner with the whole group - it is always great to meet interesting new people and share stories :-) The plan for tomorrow was that Chris could drive us (a long way!) around to the trailhead at the Greenstone carpark. The others were thinking about taking the jetboat up to Glenorchy to spend some time doing trips up the Dart River, but were likely to be going later in the morning. With that plan set we headed off for another night’s bed sleep before it was back to tents and huts for a few days!!
Today was our “slack pack” day where we were leaving most of our gear at the camp for later pickup. The office didn’t open until 0800 so we planned a departure after that, as the day is basically flat and not too strenuous!! The day turned out to be just over 24km in a leisurely 5h30 of walking, leaving just after 0800 and arriving at the official finish on the Queenstown waterfront at 1440. The GPS for the day is here.
There isn’t really a lot to say about today - hopefully the pictures will tell the story. In summary, today was a mixture of some road/footpath walking and some cycle/walking trail walking. We headed out from Arrowtown and walked through parts of Millbrook before heading toward Lake Hayes. After that we followed the Queenstown cycle trail to the historic bridge across the Shotover and from there around the river for a short while before heading up into the Frankton industrial area.
A little time was spent through the Frankton commercial area and near the main Frankton Rd before we crossed the Domain and ended up on the Frankton walkway/cycleway that took us around the lake edge (actually around the edge of Frankton Arm).
Finally we arrived into Queenstown central, including a short section down through the Botanic Gardens before walking down the waterfront to the "finish line"!! David headed off to his hostel and B and I headed into the centre of town for a feed! It didn't take long before we had had enough of town and were ready to head out :-)
One of Jane and Chris’ friends, (another!) David (down from Auckland with partner Liz and staying at Jane S and Chris’ with another couple, Jane W and Graham from Chch), was out and about in Chris’ vehicle and had been assigned the task of picking us up (!!) so we were in contact with him. He was nearby so kindly offered to pick us up in Queenstown (our original plan had been to taxi out to Frankton, resupply, and get picked up from there). The pickup was successful :-) and David took us out, through the manic traffic, to the Frankton shopping centre so we could restock at the supermarket and, from there, back to Arrowtown to pick up our gear before heading out of town to Jane and Chris’ place at Gibbston. We had also stayed with these guys just before Xmas last year when we were on an injury-enforced break from our nobo attempt and, as always, really appreciate the hospitality provided in this gorgeous spot!!
Got up at 0600 with a bunch of others, including Bruce and Chris, and got away about 0715. Today turned out to be almost 25km in 7h45 walking time. The GPS track is here.
Bruce and Chris headed off northbound to Highland Creek and beyond. We really enjoyed meeting them, and hope to catch up with them again sometime in the future. Our sobo journey took us pretty much straight into a 540m ascent to Roses Saddle - initially a bit of a zigzag partly on an old farm track, then into some direct ridgeline climbing. Even with our usual regular micro breaks we were at the saddle after 1h15 - pretty much all downhill (I'm generalising!) from here. It was a fine sunny day, although cool to start, and we stopped after 15 minutes to strip off as we struck the sun! Across the top the wind was quite cool so we just kept pushing on to warm up. After 2 hours we stopped for our regular snack break in a nice little sheltered basin.
From here we carried on down, eventually dropping down a steep little face into the Arrow River valley. As we were walking down this face, another Karearea rose up out of the scrub in front of us and flew over to the next ridge. At the bottom we could see an excavator and an old hut (Bruce had mentioned this last night). It was here that we made a bit of an error. We hadn’t read the notes before starting out (rookie mistake) - they said that if the river is OK then it was better to just follow the river bed. Belinda was keen (even without having read the notes!) but I thought my sore foot (the deep blood blister underneath the ball of my foot) wouldn’t handle the constant walking over stones in the riverbed.
Anyway, we decided to take the high water track on the true left of the river. Not a good idea! It was the shittiest (really the best word to describe it) bit of track that we had experienced to date (perhaps a much less challenging version of the Flood Track up the Otira that we avoided). It went up and down, often bashing through scrub and bush, with sometimes limited ground trail to try and follow. Eventually it broke out into easier tussock, but we were not happy by the time we reached the river crossing at Macetown!! It also dawned on us that this was the section that Bruce mentioned last night where it was better to use the river - we simply hadn’t connected the dots. We would advise anyone coming through (nobo or sobo) to definitely take the river option between here and Macetown if water levels allow.
We eventually reached the crossing over the river by the campsite at Macetown and joined the 4wd track on the other side.
We had a little look at the historic remains as we walked through Macetown. This can be reasonably busy as it is accessible by 4wd, so we had to watch out for vehicles for much of the rest of the day. So we then effectively followed the Arrow River into Arrowtown - we had decided that we would take the alternative river route rather than going over Big Hill, as the bodies needed a bit of a rest from climbing!! We were in and out of the river as the 4wd track often crossed the river and sometimes went down it for short periods - so the feet were cool!! We did take a couple of detours off the road when offered - these often took us over or around river crossings (for walkers and cyclists).
We passed an old water storage/collection system that we thought might be defunct but we followed a large pipeline down the road and river, hearing water in it at times, before eventually finding a sign near the end of the track saying it was an irrigation scheme - so definitely still in use! We got back onto a local walkway (off the road) for the last bit into Arrowtown and found our way to the campground, which was a little off trail. We had only been able to book a tentsite a couple of days ago but, as we arrived, David met us as he was heading uptown. He had hoped to see us as he had a four bunk room all to himself and wanted to ask if we wanted to share it. So we jumped at the chance (thanks again, David :-))!! We sorted out the bookings at the office and then the three of us went uptown for a lovely meal (and a couple of beers in my case!).
We had spoken with our friends at Gibbston, Jane and Chris, who we were staying with after Queenstown (for a rest day!) and they suggested leaving much of our gear at the campground to be picked up by them or one of their friends. So we thought that was a great idea to have a “slack pack” day to Queenstown tomorrow!! As he is in no hurry, David is planning to walk with us tomorrow as well.
Got away about 0740 on a chilly morning. We did almost 11km in about 5h15 of walking arriving at 1430 having had a few good stops along the way. However, in that 11km we went up over 1060m and down over 1200m in total - so not a simple walk in the park! The GPS data for the day is here.
Last night another young woman, Holly, joined us in the hut. She works at Outward Bound and was attending a friend's wedding in Queenstown. So, as you do, she had decided to come early and walk the Motatapu Track to Queenstown!! We got away at about 0730, just behind David. It was cold enough that as we dropped down into the gully in front of the hut there was a definite frost! Our hands were pretty cold to start but we headed uphill to warm up and to seek out some early morning sun! Today was basically all uphill and downhill - with a little bit of sidling - not really any flat stuff until we got to within a km or so of Roses Hut.
We basically had two sets of 400m+ up and downs today so we knew what to expect, more or less. If you follow the link above to the GPS info for the day and turn on the satellite imagery on the map, it gives you a clear picture of what we did. The DoC warnings for this section suggest it is pretty tough with steep ridgeline climbs and descents and steep sidles. With my lack of a head for heights in wide open spaces I wasn't sure how I would go. However, the reality was that is was no problem at all - not much worse than a walk on steeper bits on the farm at home (that was a relief for me)!
We started off up through rocky tussock land (again!) and made steady progress toward the first of our 1220m high points.
One bit of excitement for the day was a close encounter with a karearea (NZ falcon). We were near a stile on the first high point of the day and Belinda's attention was caught by an old pair of hobnail boots tied to a waratah (which was somewhat attention-grabbing!) - I noticed a couple of meters away a bird flapping around close to the ground. I couldn't immediately see what it was until it started to take off, when it became obvious. We think it was probably feeding on something but neglected to actually look! Fantastic to see one so close - B did manage a quick snap as it took off.
Then it was back down to around 750m before heading up again to the second high point of the day. We stopped at this second 1200m peak for 45 minutes or so for lunch and a quick internet catch-up, as we had some reception. Then it was, yet again, a steep descent back below 700m with a final very gentle uphill to the hut. We stopped at the river a couple of hundred metres before the hut (right beside the main access road for Motatapu / Mt Soho Stations) to fill up, although it turned out there was a little stream quite close to the hut which also provided for water (see dead bird story below!).
David and Jack were both there ahead of us and we also found a couple of farmers from the Hakataramea - Bruce and his wife Chris - with whom we had some great chats. On another matter entirely, we had been hearing stories from a number of days back about a dead bird in the water tank at Roses Hut and had thought we would do something about it as no-one else seemed to have! Turns out that Bruce had the same thought and had immediately got on to draining the tank and cleaning it out - apparently he enlisted the aid of Jack (a bit younger and agile!) and sent him into the tank to scoop out sludge!! Anyway - a good job done Bruce; just have to wait for the next rain to fill up the tank again.
Then Tom from Scotland came in (he was just walking from Arrowtown to Wanaka as conditioning for more tramping). With the four from Israel, Belgium and Canada (Daniel Jordan Darcy plus one other who liked to walk on his own at the back) arriving later, that made 11 in a 12 bunk hut. We were all sitting around at 1945 when Jack saw another 2 people half way down the last ridge. So looks like it will be 13! The late arrivers were sobo (fast) hikers who settled for putting up their tent.
We left the campsite at 0730 and did 16.5km in 6.25 hours of walking, arriving at Highland Hut at 1515. The days GPS track is here.
It was a short walk (about 700m) up from the campground entrance to where the Motatapu Rd turnoff took us up toward the Fern Burn carpark. We arrived at the carpark after a 45min stroll. The track started on flattish farmland and passed through some ewes and lambs and, in the next scrubby paddock, some deer. Then we started to climb a bit alongside Fern Burn. The going was varied with a little bit through small trees but also more open grass/bracken/fern country, with a few wet patches to negotiate.
Most of the Motatapu track passes through land controlled by Mutt Lange (originally bought with his then wife Shania Twain and later added to). In total the four stations make up over 55,000 ha, and cover most of the land between Wanaka and Arrowtown, but around 53,000 ha was put into a QE2 Trust covenant, I believe, so the vast majority is protected and only relatively small areas of valley floors support mainly sheep farming. The track and huts were paid for by the owners as part of Overseas Investment Office requirements when approving the purchase.
It took us only 2.5hr climbing from the carpark up to Fern Burn Hut where we stopped for an early lunch at about 1120. Passed a guy from Auckland who was just down doing a bit of tramping here while his wife was back in the UK. At the hut an English chap arrived on an “up and back” walk - he spends quite a bit of time walking in NZ. David from Germany also came in while we were there. He is doing TA and heading for highland Creek Hut like us.
We set off just before 1200, letting David go ahead as he would be faster. The photos probably do more justice to the terrain than words but we climbed up through mainly tussock country to Jack Hall’s Pass (1275m), about 500m above Fern Burn Hut, where we got some good views back towards Wanaka.
From there we did some up, but mostly down, including some sharp spur descents taking us towards the next hut. Took exactly 3hr walking from Fern Burn to Highland Creek Hut, arriving at 1515, so an early stop for the day - which suited my sore foot! Perhaps surprisingly, we actually did 1300m of ascent and 750m descent - didn’t really feel like it today :-). David was already there and then we were joined by Jack from Aussie. Another local came walking/running through from Arrowtown, but he was heading all the way over to the carpark - so he took off soon after. We four had dinner, then about 1915 another walker came in. This was Daniel from Israel who told us he had three friends maybe half an hour behind. They arrived in about 2000 so we were up to 8 in a lovely (c2008) 12 bunk hut! Looks like everyone is heading for Roses Hut tomorrow!
Really didn’t do much today - a very uneventful Xmas day. Belinda went for a walk - I rested my sore right foot and gave my strapped left ankle a bit of fresh air!! I had hoped to have a pie for lunch but there were none to be had in the camp store so we bought ourselves some stuff for lunch. Not exciting - baked beans for B and a pasta packet for me - but it was at least a change from our usual :-) Got ourselves sorted for a reasonable start time tomorrow and hit the sack!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!