Monday, March 31, 2014

    Greeting from Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.  Sadly the TA does not go through Fiordland, we are just here to resupply, but Brazil Nut and I plan to come back here and visit once we've completed the trail.  It's an outdoor enthusiasts paradise and I think it will be wonderful to explore in a few weeks time.
     We've had a great last week of hiking.  After I last posted we left Wanaka for the Motatapu Alpine track.  The track was beautiful, with unrelenting steep climbs and lots of great views.  It was difficult, and not a step on flat terrain.  As soon as we reached the top of a peak the trail immediately descended as steeply as we had just climbed.  It made for very hungry and sore thru hikers by the end of the day :)

Jetpack on the Motatapu Alpine Track

Brazil Nut coming to the top of a steep climb

Matatapu valley

We spent two and a half days  in high elevation and on the third day we descended to the Arrow River  which took us to Macetown ( an old abandoned gold mining town).  From there we had a lot of easier track, mostly along road or gravel cycleway all the way to Queenstown.  We enjoyed great company during this section, hiking with Pete, a Kiwi that we met several weeks ago, as well as Fred and Dave, a couple from the UK who we met just as we arrived in the South Island. 

Break time at the Highland creek hut

Walking the Queenstown Cycle Trail- Jetpack, Fred and Dave

  Queenstown is located along Lake Wakatipu, NZ's longest lake.  With the ever booming tourism, Queenstown has expanded dramatically in recent years, and one can find anything in town that you would ever want.  We arrived late and left early the next morning, but we didn't leave by foot.  The trail head where the TA continues is over 50km away on the far side of the lake.  The TA  does not recommend that trampers walk the road as it is narrow, windy and dangerous.  Instead we are instructed to take a bus or boat, so we took an early morning bus that dropped us off at the Greenstone Carpark- the beginning of TA's next section.

The Greenstone River

A curious Tomtit

The tip to one of my trekking poles came of in deep, deep mud. Brazil Nut was kind enough to get it for me

   The trail continued with easy tramping for the next couple days.  It was a nice break from the previous steeper sections.  Yesterday we hiked 40km, most of which was along gravel road, as we had heard the trail was not very nice. It was supposedly through flooded farmland, lots of cows and cow poo and tall tussock.  With the flat open road  never more than a few hundred meters away, we opted for a road walk instead.

Scenery on the Mavora walkway
North Lake Mavora on a cloudy day

A benefit of road walking-things found on the side of the road!

On another note, I just got my third pair of shoes.  I believe my second pair would have lasted to Bluff, but I had already mailed ahead a pair that was waiting in Queenstown.  Brazil Nut and I are both wearing Altra trail running shoes and have been since Cape Reinga.  These shoes are probably the piece of gear that I am most happy with- I don't think I will ever hike with another shoe and I would recommend them to anyone.  They're sturdy, extremely durable, they're zero drop and have a super wide toe box which is wonderful as my feet always swell when I hike long distance. I'm so happy we were introduced to them on the CDT when our trail friend Lint was raving about them-thanks Lint!
   Must go and finish our resupply. Thanks for reading!
Happy trails, and onward to Bluff!
-Jetpack and Brazil Nut



  1. Hello Elaine and Kaitlin, I think that is my $10 note. Wonderful descriptive writing, wonderful photos, wonderful effort. You are certainly covering ground quickly. Good thing too as the forecast for the next few days is a bit iffy. If you return to Te Anau you will have many choices including Kepler, but a good option is the Routeburn, a lovely alpine track reached from the Milford Road. (or both). Then an easy drive back to Queenstown. Best wishes, John and Marilyn

  2. Hello Kaitlin and Elaine, Incriveis, maravilhosos, parabens ! You've made it! An outstanding achievement that will stay with you both for your lifetimes. We've followed you daily (except when Spot didn't deliver). Auckland remains very warm and very dry, but humid as always. Yesterday I climbed Mt Tamahunga, a mere pinprick on your travels, then a warm ocean swim, my first since the injury. We hope that you will have an opportunity to contact/visit us. John and Marilyn