We got away feft Boyle just after 0630. Arrived at Hope Kiwi Hut about 1330 - 7 hours after starting, having walked for 6h20. Not bad going for 26.4km! It was a toss-up as to whether to continue further but finally decided to call a short day for our first one. The day’s GPS data is here.
Because of the recent rain, and the notes about crossing the Boyle River on the Tui Track, we had decided that we would take the road diversion to get to the Hope-Kiwi Track. So we walked the road and crossed the river by bridge before arriving at the Tui / Hope Kiwi track junction at 0845. We stopped for a 15 min rest here and met a couple of young lads heading up into the hills after deer - a reminder that yet again we are walking in the middle of the roar (last year it was Pureora Forest)!! Bright colours will be our best defense!. We headed up into beech forest for a couple of hours until reaching Hope Halfway Shelter at 1120 after 18.7km. By this stage the sun had broken out! We heard a number of stags roaring through this section - we played leapfrog with the boys a couple of times and came across them trying to decide if they wanted to head into the bush after a couple of stags roaring not too far up into the bush! Quite a lot of birds today: fantail, robin, tui, bellbirds, tomtit and others we weren't certain of.
A couple of km of beech was followed by a long stint of about 5 km mostly on riverflat pasture, following the Hope River, which was quite fast walking. There was one little diversion up to cross a swingbridge over the Hope River as the track swung up into the hills a couple of kms before Hope Kiwi Hut (easy to see on the GPS track!) near the Kiwi River. Then it was following near the Kiwi River through a mix of beech forest margin and river flat to the hut. As noted above, we arrived here about 1345 which is quite early to stop for the day. We had wondered about going on to the next hut, Hurunui, but as it was possibly another 6 hours (19km) we ultimately decided on an early stop. It was our first day back after 4 days of and we couldn’t see any major advantage in terms of making the next 3-4 days “better”, even if we tented in between huts - anyway, decision made.
We had a leisurely afternoon drying our footwear and reading. Jason, a long time local hunter, was in the hut and had a fire going. We were joined at about 1430 by Peter, a geologist from Australia in his late 60’s who has regularly tramped in NZ for decades, including this section a number of times! He had just walked from Hurunui Hut and will also stay the night. He indicated it had taken him 6 hours - but he said he was getting slower and was not in a rush as he had a couple of days to get to Windy Point to catch a bus back to Chch. Later on, one more hunter joined us, so five in the hut for the night.
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"!!