Day 4

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
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36
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Trip End Feb 27, 2006


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, June 27, 2005

I got up nice and early to assess the weather, and as the sun rose it became clear that it was going to be a beautiful day. Therefore I made my beans on toast, made a packed lunch, and off I went at about 8.45am. I set off with Susie until we went our separate ways at the top of the hill - she was doing the track in reverse. She warned me about how the track would be uphill for the first hour or so, but I breathed a sigh of relief when she said it was all downhill after that until the end in Anakiwa.

So after a steady climb to begin with, it soon became easier and the final 18km was relatively smooth. The sun shone all day, and at times the walk felt almost magical! This was particularly the case just prior to Lochmara Bay, when I was surrounded by fantail birds, one of whom followed me for about 50-100m. These birds are incredibly tame and this particular one flew just inches away from me, as if to lead me in the right direction!

More amazing scenery surrounded me for the middle section, with the clear skies making Kenepuru Sound even more stunning than usual. It was as peaceful as ever on top of the hills, so it came as quite a surprise when I came face to face with a stray cow in the middle of nowhere! The track was quite narrow, but luckily he had the courtesy to let me pass without causing a fuss. When I stopped to take a photo a few minutes later, I noticed the cow had followed me and was stood stationary, looking at me with a gormless expression on its face!

The last part of the track was very easy, and most of it was through forest area. As I got closer to Anakiwa, I saw a number of mountain bikers and a few hikers because the weather was perfect, and it was a sunday of course. When I reached the end I felt a real sense of achievement, but I was aching a little and so after picking my main backpack up, I went to the Blist'd Foot cafe.

The cafe was part of Tirimoana House, a beautiful guesthouse that charged $100 for a single room! However, I was feeling extravagant and so I casually enquired if the place was busy. The lady said that they were always pretty quiet during winter. So when she served my ham toasted sandwich (with scones and jam) I cheekily asked if there was a discount during the off season! She said she could go to $75 but it was "a beautiful room." After eating the lovely food, I said that I'd stay for $60...she laughed and told me to come in - I think she admired my bartering skills!

Well, the inside of the house was pretty special indeed, with heated floors, huge open plan lounge/dining area, and a stairway leading up to a mezzanine level. Check it out at www.tirimoanahouse.com! My room was actually a double room with en suite bathroom, yet another amazing view, and the added bonus of an electric blanket! I really have stayed in some luxurious places on this walk. It certainly is a contrast to the cold huts and camping grounds that you associate with tramping in the countryside.

I spent the evening relaxing in the lounge, chatting to Jan and Brian, and playing with their poodle, Pepsi. They were so friendly and Brian even shouted me a couple of beers, while Jan offered me dessert which was delicious. It turned out to be a perfect end to my Queen Charlotte experience.

The next day I had a few hours to kill before the water taxi took me back to Picton, so I went for a ride out with Brian to Havelock, a cute little town, and then to a lookout at Cullen Point. After this I just soaked up the sun on a crisp afternoon in Anakiwa, and reflected on what had been a memorable few days.
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