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 :-)
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"!!