Let them eat cake!

Trip Start Mar 14, 2012
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
The Catlins
The Split Level Hostel
What I did
The Catlins river walk

Flag of New Zealand  , Otago,
Saturday, April 7, 2012

Four days with no updates, sorry mate! My previous night in Queenstown led me to drinking good beer, eating at Furgburger ( I had the deer burger with the plum chutney...SO SO GOOD!) Kris and I walked the city before turning in for the night.

There was the option of going down to the fijordland national park or go towards the Catlins...fijordland and the sounds would have been stellar but would have cost many pretty pennies. They are best experienced by some sort of boat and at the end of this trip I didnt want to fork out more cash on top of gas to explore nature. So my we opted for backpacking up into the Catlins. I am glad that I did, we basically had them all to ourselves. We found an ideal spot to camp, collected wood, made our dinner and had a proper campfire. That campfire alone was an adventure, it is not easy to ignite wet wood and bush. The night was comfortable. We drank our beer under the stars while watching a fireside movie. Life cant possibly be too bad as a backpacker...

In the morning dew we dragged our feet out into the cold for breakfast scones, filtered water, then collected the days gear. We headed off along the river for the day trail hike. Soon we found ourselves immersed in a thick rainforest alive with the sounds of nature. A variety of finches followed us along the path acting as tiny colorful guides. They tweeted their approval while flying close enough to our heads that they almost brushed our faces. We had only one run in with some short-on-time day walkers. Other than that the whole forest was ours. We hiked up, down, up, then down again along steep mountainsides and did a few swing bridge crossings over the river. A nice spot of mountain was found for us to perch on for our lunch. While we sat, I admired the way the sun glittered through the thick green holes in the treetop canopy. Each speck of dust laden dew that fell across my vision encompassed a whole new feeling for this wondrous country. I found my heart to be heavy with contentment.

The walk back to the camp was met with stiff legs chasing the quickly setting sun. Good time was still made back to camp and the foresight of a very cold foggy night led us to a hostel in Owaka. The Split Level House hostel is a perfect example of the level of comfort and trust the Kiwis share with travelers. On the front door was a note that read,"If there are any beds left, feel free to choose one. I will come around in the evening to collect payment." With only one other person (who made an almost rude effort to NOT be social) we had the place to ourselves. And for the 3 dollar price difference we opted for one of the private dorms that the rude guest was not sleeping in. I fixed up a dinner of green Thai rice curry with pepper grilled chicken and salad. The beer and cake course soon followed, Kris and I retiring for an early night of movie watching in the feather like beds. Perhaps it was because I had been sleeping outside on hard ground for most of this trip, but I am very sure that the mattress was made from the same fabric as dreams. The comfortable sleep we had was almost surreal. Needless to say we were in no hurry to rush out of the hostel. Brownie cake for breakfast paired with tea got us moving...eventually. We dragged out our comfort stay as long as we could. Eventually we hit the road back to Queenstown. The hustling bustling city of thrill junkies was exactly the same as we had left it. Picturesque in all its cheesy glory.
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