Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Tuesday, 29th January 2013 32.5 kms 6 hrs
My last TA day started with a walk along the Estuary Walkway from Invercargill, taking me away from the town and onto SH1 - the Bluff Highway.
Then it was a 20 km road walk along the busy road - many vehicles in both directions, including a lot of trucks heading to the port of Bluff.
A warm, balmy day with not much wind, which is a lot better than the pouring rain or blasting southerlies that other TA walkers have had at this point.
And so I reached the outskirts of Bluff , and left the road for the Foveaux walkway which travels around the south side of Bluff Hill - first through grassy paddocks, then scrub, then larger bush for the last part - a superb way to end the trail, matching the start of the trail at Cape Reinga.
My wonderful wife and support crew, Hazel joined me for the last km, and then there were the obligatory photos by the end of the road, and end of Te Araroa, signpost.
What an incredible journey I have had over the last 4 summers .. and now it is all done - a great feeling of relief that my aggressive schedule for this summer actually worked - 22 days' walking from the Rangitata River to Bluff
Monday, January 28, 2013
Monday, 28th January 2013 36.5 kms 9 hrs
Eventually this track left the coast and climbed up into Mores Reserve - a pleasant remnant of coastal bush. No view from the top because of morning mist. From the other side it then goes down into Riverton.
Across the river and then out to the start of Oreti Beach, that curves around for a 17km stroll to near Invercargill. A most pleasant beach to walk on because of plenty of good firm sand, but today only minimal views of Stewart Island because of the sea mist.
Managed to cross the Waimatuku Stream 2 hours before high tide, and then continued on to the Dunns Rd exit from the beach - very evident because of the number of cars that drive from there onto the beach.
Then a road walk to cross the Stead St bridge on the Invercargill CBD edge
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Sunday, 27th January 2013 24 kms 8.5 hrs
Travelled further down the valley from Martins Hut, and then picked up the track that runs along the side of the Round Hill water race all the way to where the Longwoods finish in the farmland near the south cost.
This was built by gold miners to bring water for the gold workings at Round Hill, and holds a steady contour line all the way -twisting and turning, exploring every gully along the way.
Pleased to dump my pack in the carpark at the end, and then a short road walk down to the South Island's southern coast at Colac Bay (picture) - now only 2 days to go !
Saturday, 26th January 2013 37 kms 10 hrs 45 mins
First a day pack section through Island Bush and to the start of Merivale Rd, where I picked up my overnight pack.
Then up Merivale Rd, first through paddocks, and then continuing as a forest road for some way in the start of the Longwood Forest.
Eventually the road was replaced by a rambling bush track through some delightful bush, then soon enough started a steady climb up onto Bald Hill (805m) A good clear view of Bluff Hill - my final TA destination in a few days' time
But for now a great spot for lunch, and then onwards, down a transmission tower road for a while, before changing again to another delightful bush track - bright colours from the sunny day, mossy covered trees and rocks, and a good variety of bush.
From time to time it returned to open tops with views all around - to Fiordland, Stewart Island, Bluff, and back from where I had come.
My last major peak for TA of Longwood Trig at 764m.
Eventually descended from the tops down to Martins Hut - a very quaint and obviously ancient hut that fortunately is still kept for all to enjoy (picture). It reminded me of a differently quaint hut that was my first TA hut - Bog Inn in the Pureora Forest.
Friday, 25th January 2013 39 kms 10 hrs
From the Telford campsite the trail travels down through Mt Linton Station, soon on a 4WD track which then becomes a good farm road.
Cows with calves wanting to travel in my direction for a bit, and then later on a mob of cattle were coming towards me on the road - time to get out of the way and let them past.
At the top forest roads for a few kms, then a steady descent down to the road near Scotts Gap, and then a further road walk to the start of Hewitts Rd
Thursday, 24th January 2013 21 kms 10.25 hrs
Today's DOC times of 8 + 8 hours were a concern, but in the event they were just ... conservative.
But left Aparima Hut early, and after a short time navigating an open area above the river, I was then in bush following markers all the way to Lower Wairaki Hut (6 hrs) for my lunch stop.
Then a long descent down to the Telford campsite in the valley on a warm sunny afternoon.
Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 23 kms 9.25 hrs
An hour's walk up a road, and then into the Takitimu bush at Lower Princhester Hut.
A steady climb to a saddle, then down the other side. Lost the track for a bit, but soon enough navigated back to it.
Eventually onto a 4WD track that led to Aparima huts - a DOC one and a deer cullers' one that anyone can use.