We arose early and got underway at 0645 because of daylight saving change. Ended up getting to SH7 at Boyle Village at 1545. Another 9 hour day involving about an hour of rest stops along the way. GPS data for the day is here.
We set off from Anne Hut as the sun was rising over the hills back down towards the Waiau. We quickly met the Anne River and headed up it. The saddle is only about 350m higher than the hut, so no great exertion involved! We arrived at Anne Saddle after 2hr and 7.6km, and had 10min break before the sandflies got too annoying. Going had been mainly river flat with some good fast walking, mixed with some swampy areas and the occasional climb through scrubby bush over little ridges where we couldn't walk alongside the river.
Anne saddle is only about 1100m asl, after which it was back down another 200m or so and then back into more of the same, flatter, mix as noted above - except this time we were following the Boyle river on the other side of the saddle. Some of the grassy flats were very good underfoot and we were doing along at over 5kph. As a consequence, we made good progress to Boyle Flat Hut (not stopping at the small Rokeby Hut) where we stopped for an early lunch, after 16.7km! Getting to the hut involves a short 5min detour over a swingbridge, but worth it - even if just to avoid the sandflies while you stop!
We left the hut at 1200 and headed back across the swingbridge and continued downriver, eventually crossing another swingbridge over to the true right of the Boyle. Here we actually started climbing again through the margins of some nice beech forest. Part of the St James Walkway, the track was generally in pretty good condition - still plenty of rocks roots and mud/water but better than usual TA standard! We then heard a cow mooing for the first time in ages! Eventually saw some more open farmland on the other side of the river, with cattle grazing - even saw a farm ute driving along a track. The country then opened up a little on our side as well and we could see evidence of the cattle being there recently - no fences to keep them from crossing over the Boyle River. Shortly after this, we stopped for a break (2hr after leaving the last hut) and saw a NZ falcon (karearea) flying over us making a distinctive screech! Quite exciting as neither of us had seen one before
We only stopped for less than 10 minutes as the sandflies had found us again! We continued down the river until about 5km from Boyle Village where another swingbridge took us back to the true left of the river where we continued down to the Boyle carpark and then straight out to SH7. There was a little DoC area to pitch a tent if required but we had planned to try and hitch into Hanmer, especially as it was only 1545 having made good time.
About 20 cars must have passed our thumbs without stopping before a lady pulling out of the Boyle carpark stopped. She was a lovely Slovenian lady who had been living in NZ for four years with her English husband, who has a job on the Chch rebuild. She had been out tramping and was heading back to Chch so offered to drop us at the Hanmer turnoff. We chatted lots over the 50km or so and as we got to the turnoff she VERY kindly offered to take us right into Hanmer, for which we were very grateful as it saved us waiting on another ride! She dropped us off at the Kakapo Lodge (YHA) where we managed to get a completely self-contained room for 3 nights, after which it was into an ensuite room with no kitchen facilities for one night (slumming it! - prior booking on the self contained room for Wed night). We started to catch up on all the internetty things as we had been (pleasantly!) out of cellphone reception for all five days since leaving St Arnaud! Had a big clean of ourselves and clothes - then did a bit of a quick shop and got some takeaways for dinner! Eggs and bacon with toast (for me at least) for breakfast tomorrow!
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"!!