Didn't get out of sleeping bags until 0700 as we were planning a late start so as not to arrive at Harper campsite too early (might as well spend our spare time in a nice hut rather than the tent). Was around 14deg so not a very cold night. Large sandflies still in abundance at that temperature however! Lounged around the hut for the morning - which felt a bit strange - and had lunch at about 1200. Finally got underway just before 1300. Walked for about 20km today in 5 hours of walking - the days GPS track is here.
Today was basically walking down the Harper River valley. It was a bit reminiscent of walking down the Waiau in April. We followed an old 4wd track for most of the day, sometimes on stones and sometimes on grassy riverbed. We crossed the Harper a number of times in the way down - hopefully the photos do some justice to the striking scenery. The first half of the walk we had a tailwind but by the time we reached a feature known as The Pinnacles this had turned into a solid headwind which stayed with us for the rest of the walk. All the while it was hot and sunny and, for the most part, very little shade to be had.
As we got further down the valley we crossed the Avoca River as planned (no big deal) but got a bit confused between the 4wd track and orange markers, and the TA GPS track we have loaded on the ViewRanger app! Appears to us the GPS track is screwy. Anyway, we followed the 4wd tracks and orange markers, eventually heading along some new fencing put up by Glenthorne Station. About 3.5km from Harper Village we seemed to miss a track and ended up walking for a couple of km on a farm track. When we climbed the gate at the end onto Harper Road, the signs were pointing down to the river which is where we were supposed to have been, parallel to the track we walked on. Still have no idea where we missed the signage - such is life.
From there it was only a couple more km to the Trustpower-owned camp spot in the village where we arrived about 1830. Nice new toilet installed as well. Pitched the tent on rocky ground ok - not far from the toilet, but it was the best place to escape the worst of the incessant wind, although the noise of the wind in the trees was also constant :-) .
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"!!