On the morning that I left Havelock, I walked out of the backpackers while everyone was still asleep…at 10am. After following the road for 1.5km I arrived at the rubbish dump, which is located right next to the Linkwater Track trail head. There were no signs indicating where to go, so I checked the trail notes and read that I was meant to follow a nearby 4WD track. From there, I went straight up a hill for about 20 minutes. When I reached the top there were a few guys working on the power lines, one of them made the joke that I've been waiting to hear since I started walking in Bluff: “Ey bro, I think you forgot something...you left your skis behind!” The trail then descended down the other side until it intersected with road which led me 14km to Anakiwa. It felt strange to see a familiar place for the first time since I arrived in New Zealand (I spent 3 weeks on an Outward Bound course at Anakiwa in 2010). Many memories came rushing back as I walked the road into the small town. I stayed at the Anakiwa Lodge, which is by far the nicest YHA I've stayed at. After revisiting the Outward Bound campus, I hung out in the spa at the hostel and watched Lord of the Rings.
Unfortunately, Outward Bound didn’t have a course running at the time; otherwise I would have been up before 6am to run 3km to see how I compared with when I attended a course. So instead, I had another cruisy morning and started walking the Queen Charlotte Track at 9am. I don’t have a huge amount to say about the day overall. I think the gallery that corresponds to this section will explain it best. The track was so well graded you can probably ride a skateboard on some of it, and there is rewarding views almost everywhere. It’s all beautiful rainforest surrounded by the deep blue coloured Sounds. I could live in one of those coves. I was at my intended campsite: Black Rock by 3pm and because I seemed to be casually doing 5kmph, I decided to continue for another 10km to the Bay of Many Coves campsite area. My evening was mostly spent running and yelling at Wekas, both for entertainment and protecting my gear from theft.
The following day was more or less the same beautiful and easy walking. In the morning I came across one of those ‘international places direction and distance’ signs which showed that Darwin is in fact more south than Hobart… I knew school was a waste of time! There were plenty of people on the track, and only 2 of them had actual packs on. One fella was cruising with a plastic bag while wearing flip-flops; I guess the track really is that easy. I met a couple of DoC workers later in the day and had pretty long chats with both of them. The first dude I met told me about the proposed Linkwater track (mentioned in first paragraph),. Apparently it will be beautifully scenic and very well graded just like the Queen Charlotte track, but I’m 4 years too early… The track beyond the DoC workers was so smooth it would be possible to ride a skateboard on it for about a kilometre. In the evening I met Lloyd at the Schoolhouse Bay campsite, and Wayne who rowed over from his yacht to say hello.
The final day of walking on the South Island was a whopping 2.5km to Ship Cove where the trail ends. I arrived at 9:30am to take a swim in the ocean. The boat to Picton arrived at 10:30am and that was it; 62 walking days, 1369km and the South Island is complete! Once I arrived in Picton there was only one thing to do: go to the pub. At about 2pm I started to hitch-hike/dance towards Nelson for a holiday from my ‘holiday’. Without a doubt, I think that walking the South Island from south to north and ending in the spectacular Marlborough Sounds is the way to do it. I wonder if I will feel the same about the North Island…
For the past week I’ve been hanging out in sunny Nelson where I’ve done some sweet riding (no dislocated shoulders either!), caught up with some friends, went kayaking around the coast of Abel Tasman National Park and a 16,500ft. skydive on a day clear enough to see the North Island! It’s been nice to do normal things, such as eating, showering and using flushing toilets, but I’m looking forward getting back to the trail life…even if it’s going to start getting colder! I have to say a huge thanks Jennie, Lee, Jeremy and the mystery fourth housemate Carl for letting me stay with them and storing my bike. People’s generosity towards travellers is incredible, I am very grateful!
On Monday I will be cruising over to the North Island in style with Interislander Ferries who have very kindly helped me out with getting me across the ditch and put me in the premium lounge…free lunch! Once in Wellington I will spend a couple days checking out the city and sorting out logistics for the North Island before I start walking again.
Now that I have completed the South Island, which I believe is a bit of a milestone, I would like to make mention of The Fred Hollows Foundation once again. One of the biggest pains about being on the trail for me is waking up on a freezing cold morning and touching my eyes with cold hands to put contact lenses in, yet I’m still very grateful that I have the privilege to see all of the beauty that surrounds me everyday. If you have been following my journey and have thought about donating, then maybe this is the time. I would love to see some more donations come through for this awesome Foundation, any amount is greatly appreciated! Thank you to everyone that has made a donation. Here are the cause page links for Australia & New Zealand.
Onto the North Island...