Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
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Where I stayed
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
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.