Disintegrating backpacks, sore arches, painful heels, a pulled muscle. Will we make it to Bluff? Time for the final push!Read More
Damn, still nearly two weeks from Bluff. And a lot can happen in two weeks.
I suppose it had to happen sooner or later: the breaking of the Anti Wekaweka Squad. Technically the squad had already broken when Joe left us in St Arnaud, but we knew that was going to happen and we could prepare ourselves and keep the tears to a minimum. This was more sudden, and so it broke our hearts. The day we left Queenstown will forever be known as The Day We Lost Brianne.Read More
As the title implies, this section of the TA was a bit of a mixed bag. There were many good things, like epic views, steep climbs and rivers to bash through. However, we also had more than our fair share of gravel 4wd tracks, tussocks and bogs. And oats. So. Many. Oats.Read More
After resting for a few days we were keen to get back on trail, although I was a bit nervous about the new boots. Had I broken them in enough by strolling from cafe to cafe in Christchurch and Geraldine? How soon until I got blisters on my little toes? Had I made a stupid choice in buying waterproof boots that would take forever to dry? Would the atrocious pink laces detract from my carefully constructed image of trashy hiker who tramped in her underwear? This section will answer those and many other important questions.Read More
Warning: this blog post contains mentions of food that may be distressing to French people. You may want to hold someone’s hand, huddle up in a security blanket, and/or munch on a baguette to make sure you reach the end without suffering permanent psychological damage. All good? Allons-y!Read More
In which our hiking heroes trip on smooth concrete paths, get eaten by sandflies, fall into rivers and trip over treeroots. It’s a miracle we’re still alive...Read More
A whole bubble of TA hikers was piling up in St Arnaud, and we realised that we would probably be hiking in a much bigger group and sleep in busier huts during the next section. Sadly, none of these other hikers would be Joe. He had a few more days in NZ before he had to go back home. We did our very best to convince him to stay with the group but the school where he was teaching apparently couldn’t spare him for so long. After breakfast consisting of three croissants, a bowl of muesli and not a single oat, the Anti Wekaweka Squad said goodbye to one of its founding members, and we set off with Brianne and Yerin.Read More
As Kiwis would say, our packs were “heavy as”. We had 10-11 days of food. And not just the bare minimum needed to survive, but plenty of solid meals and delicious snacks. I hate being hungry while hiking. And since we are constantly hungry, it means we carry enough to feed a small village for a year. It would probably take us 8 days to get through the Richmond Ranges but there are sections that involve river crossings and we had heard horror stories of people getting stuck in a hut for four days while waiting out rainstorms until the rivers were low enough to cross. The current weather forecast: heatwave with zero chance of rain. At least one of the huts was out of water. Great.Read More
The “one to go” part of “One island down, one to go!” began to sink in on our last day on the North Island. We said goodbye to Sonia and Isobel in the morning, and Richard gave us a lift to the ferry terminal. Despite our extreme resupply, the packs were fairly light because the majority of the snacks were being shipped across to the south in boxes, while we were only carrying food for the first few days, enough for the Queen Charlotte track.Read More
After the Tararuas, the North Island was almost done. Almost, but not quite. We still had one big hill to climb plus some walking along the coast to do. The North Island did not want to let us go easily, so it threw everything it had at us: mud, roads and beaches, plus some interesting weather.Read More
At some point in time, the Te Araroa trust must have decided that spending nearly a week dozing on a canoe would make hikers lazy and complacent and in need of a rude awakening. So they planned the stretch from Whanganui to Palmerston North: a good 100 km slog on roads, including a day on State Highway 3. Nice try, TA trust, but we are too smart for you! We hitchhiked. The trailnotes did not inspire any confidence whatsoever that we would have a good time on this stretch, and I did not want to destroy my feet on the roads (the ankle still twinges a bit every now and then).Read More
The river: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Canoeship Enterprise. Its six day mission: to explore strange new rapids, to seek out new sandflies and new campsites. To boldly capsize where no canoe has capsized before.
(Cue clunky 60s intro music)Read More