Hello from Te Anau, where we hitched 30K and are just resupplying quickly, then heading back to the trail the same day (although it is threatening rain out and very tempting to stay!). No shower, no bed, just a town meal and groceries. You can tell the end is near. We are at kilometer 2765, getting unbelievably close to that finish line at 3000K!
We have only come 100 kilometers (60 miles) since Queenstown, so this is only a short update with no major themes and just a general overview (call me lazy).
The trail ended in Queenstown and picked back up on the other side of Lake Wakatipu at the Greenstone Track. In our trail notes, Lake Wakatipu is referred to as another “hazard zone” because it breaks the continuum of the trail. To get to the other side of the lake, you have to get a ride all around or take a water taxi. We called the water taxi company and they quoted us $600 for the ride to the trailhead. So we went with plan B. Luckily, the Greenstone Track is fairly popular and there are regular shuttle services for hire to get you to the trailhead. We could have tried our luck at hitching, but we wanted a sure thing and went with the shuttle service, which was not too pricy at $52/person.
So on Wednesday morning, we boarded a bus bound for our trailhead, hours away on gravel backcountry roads. The drive around the lake was spectacular. Apparently the lake head at Glenorchy serves as the backdrop for the Misty Mountains in Lord of the Rings and also were part of the movie advertisement posters.
Once on the trail, we spent most of our time in the forest. It was great to be back in the trees.
The rest of our time, we were on gravel roads. This was by choice. There was a 35-kilometer section of trail that others warned us about, calling it the worst part of the Te Araroa. Something about 6 species of prickly plants, no real trail, no markers, mud, bogs, tussock, blowdowns … Need I say more? The trail traveled parallel to the road, so it was a no-brainer to take the alternate route. We haven’t done a ton of road walking on the South Island, so that made a difference in our decision as well.
We get enough tussock on the rest of the trail, thank you very much.
It has been getting colder and colder as we move further and further away from the equator. Coupled with the fact that we are entering NZ’s fall season, this makes for some really chilly and frosty mornings. Brrrr.
That’s all I have for you now. There should be another update in 100K or so.