More height meters, really nice „Kiwis“ and a banana!
After 1,5 days of rest in Te Anau, we are ready and eager to start again! All things are packed up and we want to start easy back in the trail.
After hitching back to the trail begin we start walking on an easy gravel road. As a hiker who came from the other side mentioned that it would be best to stay on the gravel road and later join the trail, we did likewise not knowing that this decision would lead to a 30km hike on our first day back on the trail. Why? Because shortly before we wanted to join back to the trail we talked to a local who advised us against it, as the river which has to be crossed is unusual difficult due to former weather. That left us with the only possibility to walk further up the gravel road until a possibility to cross via swinging bridge. What can we say: even as it was easy walking on the road, with the backpacks so heavy due to the fill up with food, we really worked hard to keep walking. As our minds were set for an easy day, we struggeled and at the end decided to hitch. Our happy end of the day was a hitch directly to Mavora lakes where we pitched our tent.
The next day we had an easy and stunningly beautiful walk around the lake to Careys Hut. The sun shines, the wind cools. Together with the view on the lake and later the river, it was fantastic! At the hut, Heiko tried his fortune fishing, however the wind got stronger so he had to quit trying and came back to the hut. The first equipment broke: Heikos sock :).
As we still dreamed about a well cooked fish, we decided to have just a short walk tooo Boundary Hut the next day. However as soon as we reached the Hut, a storm started. It rained like hell and our plans of going further were destroyed. We made the best of the storm and used the afternoon to read, write blog and drink tea. It was a really good decision as the storm was pretty bad and brought a lot of fallen trees and floods in the region.
On the next morning, it was freezing cold! You even could see your breath – in the hut!! The storm did not only bring wind but also little snow on the hills next to us. Brrrr! However the day turned out to be beautiful with a lot of sun and no wind at all. The next part was absolutely beautiful. It reminded of scenes of „lord of the rings“ and we would not have wondered if Frodo would have been passing by, saying „hi“. Or we surly would have wondered if maybe the sun burned our brains ;). We crossed a lot of small creeks, stunning grass and tussock. We end this beautiful day free camping on a wonderful remote place – life is great!
The next day starts on the beautiful way like the day before. Than we have a part – I would call it: The Mud trail. As until than I was very keen to always try not to step on mud, this part was like therapy. As there was everything muddy I had to get used to step on mud. And I managed to surpress to cry out everytime I sank in. Only if the mud was so deep that the dirty water would pass the ancle-high shoes and fill up the shoe I could not stop cry out disgusted…However I would say, the therapy was successful and will help me pass muddy parts quicker in the future :). We passed the wonderful Greenstone Hut where we stopped for lunch and walked on until Greenstone car park. So, now we only need a way to get to Queenstown (56 miles away). And, we were lucky! Viv and Bruce just arrived at the Car Park after a 37 miles (THIRTY-SEVEN!!!) hike. As they had to pass through Queenstown on their way home to Wanaka they took us with them. Awesome! We had a blast talking to this nice couple, wonderful people! Thank you Viv and Bruce for the ride and for the invitation to stay in Wanaka! And for the generous donation to our cause in Haiti! You are the first guys from New Zealand who donated to our cause, thank you so much!!
We arrived in Queenstown at 7 pm. And now? Some weeks ago we met Warren who invited us to stay, however we did not have a way to ask up front, as we did not have mobile service. We decide to write a message so he still has the chance not to react…. He reacts promptly and we phone. Even with such short notice he is not hesitating at all, picks us up 10 minutes later. Wow, what a hospitality! He takes us home and introduces us to his great wife, Dawn and his family. The daughter even insists to sleep in the tent, so that we can use her room! We had a wonderful evening with this nice family, trinking wine, talking and feeling absolutely welcome and at home! Thank you Dawn and Warren for a fantastic evening, a wonderful sleep, the possibility to wash ourselves and all our clothes and the delicious breakfast the next morning! Special thanks to Ruby for the room! It was an absolute highlight so far beeing with you guys!
After one day rest and fill up in Queenstown we are on our way to Arrowtown. This is a very easy walk on official comfortable hiking routes and we enjoy the easy day. It starts following the river and than walking on the lakeshore of lake Hayes. We camp on the campsite in Arrowtown and are looking forward to a more alpine section of the trail the following days.
The first climb is to the „Big Hill“ only a „small“ climb to begin with up to 1060m. The climb is steep, the view is fantastic. We descend and enjoy the wonderful trail through little creeks, little rivers, through wild flowers. We even find fruits along the way which makes us very slow, eating delicous, sweet fruit. We stop in Macetown a former village known for gold diggers. Today only some ruins show that there was some activity a long time ago.
The next day we start with a „river-crossing-section“. Following a 4×4 track we cross the same river 20times. Some times it is even easier to walk some time in the river. Despite the wet feet, socks and shoes it is a great section we enjoyed very much. After all this crossings the trail leads us up to Rose Hill (1270m). It is a strenous climb, however the view from the top are really nice! Directly after the descent we arrive at Rose Hut where we rest up for a hard day.
We want to go directly to „Fern Burn Hut“, only 17km, however 1800 heights meter up and down again. To achieve this we get up very early. A lot of hikers who come from the different directions told us, this is going to be a challenging day even if we stop one hut earlier. But, as germans are, one time a plan is formed, we want to do it. So, let`s do it! The first serious climb is directly behind the hut. Without coffee and breakfast we start and even if it is very hard we make good time to the first hill (500 height meters up). We enjoy the view and the breakfast and down it goes, all the way. Before it goes up again (again 500 height meters), I find a banana which someone must have lost. The whole way up the second hill I fantasize about ways to eat it! On top we enjoy the banana with chocolate and wrap! 😉 Delicious! After a good break at the hut we challenge the last two hills (300 heights meters and again 500 heightsmeters). Very tired but also very proud of ourselves we reach the Fern Burn Hut and have a good night sleep to restore our energy.
The next day is not challenging concerning height meters, however it is a 19 miles hike, so, also quite challenging with the backpacks. After a difficult section in the bush, the trail becomes easier and we quite enjoy it! We walk through the forest, follow the river and eventually reach the lake (Lake Wanaka) which we follow all the way to Wanaka. We even enjoy a swim for lunch break and arrive Wanaka on time to find a motel – our treat after two hard days! The Burger and beer tastes fantastic! We enjoy one rest day to fill up food, go to the hairdresser (opulence – very nice staff!) and relax!
Please dont forget to help us with our project! Every support counts to help the Haiti communities to get potable water. We will surly drink to each donation and we have Whiskey left ;).