Having driven down from visiting Andy, Jo and family at Purau on Lyttleton Harbour, we stopped last night in Gore to visit our nephew and family - as mentioned in Belinda's update. We visited Sam, Heidi and the kids for breakfast and then hit the road for Invercargill. We dropped the car off at the airport at about 1130 and got a taxi to take us the 4km or so it to the 4 Square so at Otatara, where we had finished up on the 17th because of my knee issue. A 5 minute walk got us to a cafe for some lunch (planned because of when we wanted to hit the beach in terms of tides!). We hadn't planned to walk all the way to Riverton but eventually ended up doing exactly that, reaching the backpackers around 2030 after a 28km or so journey. The day's GPS is here.
We left the café about 1300 for the 5km to Oreti Beach, which we reached about 1400 which was just after high tide, and headed off down the beach. The reality was that it was just another beach walk! The wind was initially coming from our left but, as we were walking in a big curve, it ended up as a headwind by Riverton. At least it wasn't raining, although I didn't get my jersey off all day so that indicates that it wasn't all that warm either!
With the tide heading out, the going was not too bad for walking and we only had one small river to cross (took our shoes off and walked in bare feet for a couple of kms). We did see Stewart Island (Rakiura) to the south but the weather was cloudy/hazy so it wasn't spectacular.
I had tweaked my back after leaving Jane and Chris a few days ago and it was pretty sore today, which made the going a bit tough, especially by the end of the day! Belinda was my chief pack mounter as I can't swing it up onto my back on my own - lucky her body holds up better than mine :-). We had a look at camping in the dunes as we got closer to Riverton but it wasn't so easy and we figured we were so close that we might as well just head into town for a bed! So we ended up at Monkeys Backpackers for the night. Belinda texted Scott Hyde who we had met when we walked past his place near the Hunua Ranges. Scott is currently powering through the TA! Coincidentally he was 15km away in Colac Bay. We arranged to catch up for coffee in Riverton in the a.m. as we were leaving late morning!
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"!!