I really enjoyed the conversation, prep work and seeing how it comes together- another expensive hobby to get into? Maybe...
Last night at the backpackers, I asked for some help to lighten my 3L wine cask, happily a few accepted. Watched the moon come up in all it's splendiforisness and I misidentified a bunch of stars...
Day 130. I said my goodbyes to the gang at Blue Moon backpackers- Shane had to tell me about his biodiesel project before I left though, and even did a 'show and tell' complete with fuel samples. A bit of a character, is our Shane! The weather finally turned as I hit the road, so a nice cooling wind as I left Havelock! It was a nice walk to Anakiwa, despite being a road verge for most of it.
If you time it right, the coffee cart in Anakiwa will be open (1.30pm), and while waiting here I ran into Jin who is a SOBO TA hiker, a keen photographer carrying 7 kg of camera gear on top of the usual! So, having decided to savour my last section, I planned four easy days on the track. Davies Bay campsite was just up the road from Anakiwa, and I shared it with just one couple, Kiwis Kyle and Chloe. Hats off to them- they have courageously decided to move islands and head to Queenstown to make a new start. Love it!
I rigged my hammock and tarp in anticipation of a big blow. But nothing came of it...
Day 131. This track is a pleasantly easy walk! Lovin' the heck out of it. I've been fortunate to meet a number of SOBO TA and other hikers, and I'm starting to feel like a minor celebrity- kinda like the 'spray, and walk away!' guy. Except less well known. And unpaid.
Met the Honeymoon hikers, Gnu from Japan, Till and Sarah, and Izzy from Germany. Great to meet you guys!
Black Rock is a small campsite, and I thought I might have it to myself until Stefan from Denmark and Paul from Germany turned up. Nice to chat about hammocks, gear and photography. Stefan is dabbling with hammock camping so that was interesting to see, while Paul is doing 'the usual' Germanic gap year thing. Good on him for choosing NZ!
Day 132. Another magic day's walking. I met a number of SOBO TA trampers today- Gerald and James...
The usual obligatory gorgeous scenery followed.
On the way I bumped into Ashley and Lucas whom I met at Blue Moon backpackers in Havelock, and had lunch while trying to keep off a very cheeky weka.
I arrived at Camp Bay and met a bunch of really awesome people, including DOC hosts Julien and Yasmina from France, and Liedeke from the US. We enjoyed the glow worms and a full moon across the Sound.
Oh, and possums. Lots of them!
Day 133. Feeling a bit subdued today. It was very nice to share a campsite with some very cool travellers, but I know it is my last night on the trail. I had to drop in on Furneaux lodge for lunch, and to pick up some champers to celebrate tonight...
So, I arrived at Schoolhouse Bay for my last night on the trail. Somehow, I knew I would have the campsite to myself!
A couple kayaking did drop in briefly, took pity on this poor hungry through hiker and gifted me with some fresh food!
This almost made up for the champers exploding in my pack... I rescued a cupful to toast with, and enjoyed champagne-scented sleeping gear for the night.
Day 134. Last day! The walk over the small hill to Ship Cove only took an hour, so I had an hour of quiet contemplation before the ferry arrived.
From the water taxi to the interislander ferry, it all went smoothly. I did a celebratory leap off the wharf, so checked in soaking wet and squelching. Tip: there's a boaties shower available for $2 next to the interislander terminal!
I met some new friends on the interislander, including these two young fellas, and Ayla who is moving with her BF to Wellington. Good luck! And this band, the Shot Band played some great folk music.
And it wasn't long before we were gliding in to Wellington harbour, and seeing family!
I'll leave the deep questions etc to another post, but suffice to say I've loved this through hike and perhaps another calls :-)
A big thank you to my family and friends who have supported me throughout, from parents arrived unexpectedly on the trail with champagne, or putting up with all those parcels, overseas friends who rallied the troops, visited me while walking, sent me food and other wonderful gifts, sent me daily texts (the delightful 'Te Araroa Tip of the Day' from Scotty and Adi), and contributed in many other ways. A special thanks to everyone who donated money to Shine, you are all heroes in my book! If you haven't yet, but want to, go here:
To the Te Araroa Trust, thank you for making this possible for us! Good luck to everyone still walking.
Cheers and all the best, Pat/Kiwiscout