Lake Tekapo to Wanaka

After a well deserved rest day in Lake Tekapo, it was time to set off on the trail again. Robert and I had decided to hire bikes for the next section, a 90 km ride along mostly canals and roads. It was nice to cycle along quietly and enjoy the scenery. It would have been a lot more boring to walk so, all in all, it was a good decision to go with the bikes.

After less than 17 km it was time for a break that marked a milestone in my project the-walk. I had reached 40,000 human powered kilometers! Not bad considering that almost 27,000 of those kilometers were walking.

I hadn’t really intended to celebrate 40k, but it actually felt quite good to stop and make a bigger deal off it. Robert had a couple of beers and we ate some chips and had a drink while taking a few photos.

Further down the road, we found 2 large whirlpools, sucking water from the dam and further down the canal. They were very impressive, especially when we could see just how much power was released on the other side of the dam.

We stopped for lunch in Twizel and after some really rough gravel roads, found ourself on the alps2ocean bike track. It was a big improvement and the riding become interesting and pleasurable.

The ride lasted for 92 km and we finally arrived at Lake Ohau Lodge , were we had booked a room with both dinner and breakfast. Luxury!!

Next day it was time to start walking again, a long hike along river beds and up and down hills until just before the Ahuriri River. We camped close to a small stream and enjoyed a beautiful sunset and a cold windy night.

The next day started with a short walk to the Ahuriri River, a river crossing that is supposed to be the widest crossing on the TA, but it proved quite easy when we where there and it felt good to have it done.

Shortly after the river crossing, we found the marker for 2500 km on the TA. Naturally, it did not mean that far for me as I’m only doing the South Island, but it did mean that I only had just over 500 km to go.

The day continued with a climb up towards Martha Saddle and the wind kept getting stronger and stronger. When I finally arrived at the saddle, it was blowing a gale and it took me 15 minutes just to try to get my rain jacket on. There were several times I was blown sideways and backwards but, luckily, the trail was both wide and well formed.

The day ended at Top Timaru Hut where we found two other couples that we had met earlier on the trail. It’s interesting the way through hiking becomes such a social event. South bound hikers all become part of the same social group and you run into each other time and time again.

I expected the next day to be an easy day, but it proved hard and after only 14 km it was time to call it a day at Stodys Hut. The last 2 km were more or less straight up and were extremely taxing…

From Stodys, the next day was windy, cold and wet, with only a few glimpses of the scenery. A shame as the view of Lake Hawea is supposed to be exceptional.

I did manage to get a little bit of a view from the ridge coming down towards Lake Hawea before the mist and rain closed in completely.

After a night in Lake Hawea, it was an easy, flat walk to Wanaka , mostly along roads and the side of the canal. Along the way we were able to watch both surfers and kayakers practice on the standing waves generated at few places along the canal.

As I write this, we have had a rest day in Wanaka, done some resupplying and had what could possibly be the last beers and food in a restaurant for a while.

NZ is going into stage 4 virus alert and I am not quite sure how it is going to affect our chances of continuing. Restaurants, bars and take away places are closing and everyone is being told to stay at home. As my home is my tent at the moment, I not sure what we will have to do. We have decided to continue to Queenstown tomorrow, as we will be very isolated while out on the trail, but DOC is closing huts and campgrounds so we might have a bit of trouble after that. We’ll have to make a new decision once , or if, we manage to reach Qeenstown..

There are a lot of questions at the moment and I have no idea what is going to happen in the next week or so.

I have applied for an extension to my visa, at a cost of 256 dollars, and hope I will be able to stay in NZ for the next 4 months as my exit flight is to Australia and they have closed the borders completely.

For now, I’ll just keep walking…