3007 kilometers. Cape Reinga to Bluff. I’m done. Actually, I was done one week ago but I’m still recovering from post hike depression…I’m tired. I’m unbelievably tired but also happy. I raised NZD27000 (SEK162000) to the Swedish cancer society Cancerfonden. I’m happy and thankful. Blessed beyond my wishings.
My cold is cured, I’m back on track and the countdown to Bluff has begun.
Walking out from Wanaka along Lake Wanaka was amazingly beautiful, although hot…I’ve really experienced the Otago sun by now. I’ve said it before, but the sun in this country is nothing like what I’ve been experienced before!
I caught up with Chris from NZ and Petr from Czech Rebublic and we ended up doing the Motatapu Alpine Track together. Oh well, they’re a bit too fast for me (Petr has the longest legs on trail!) but at least I had great company in all the huts at night.
The first section wasn’t too hard, it started out flat and beautiful, continued a little bit uphill but even if it wasn’t the hardest day, I ended up pretty exhausted in Camp Stream Hut in the afternoon. The heat is getting me all the time.
The second day was harder. Way harder. We climbed up from 700-800 meters to 1200 meters and steep down aaaaaall the way back again.
After a lunch in the only shade we could find, we climbed over another 1200 meter saddle before once again coming all the way down again…down to Roses Hut where we stayed the night.
The third day started with a climb over Roses Saddle and all the way down to Arrow River. My pole broke and the sun almost killed me, so I was happy to walk IN the river for a couple of hours.
Stayed the night in Arrowtown and the next day after an easy and not too hot and sunny walk I finally reached Queenstown!
We went to have the biggest pizza (20 inches!) on trail at Fat Badgers Pizza and I haven’t been so full since we made huge burgers at a holiday park in Kerikeri in November.
The city is crazy busy and fully booked so I tried to look for a place to stay by posting on Facebook. It turned out that my friend Erika back home in Sweden knows a girl who once met an Australian guy in Thailand…who now lives in Queenstown. I ended up on the couch in his and his flat mates place. Thankful!
After a day off in rainy Queenstown I’m ready to hit the trail again tomorrow. It’s only 321 kilometers to go and I can’t believe it! Thanks for your support so far – let’s finish this!
It’s been awhile…again (I hope you’re all following me on Instagram for more regular updates: @helenateodora). Last time I wrote anything here, I was about to hit the Nelson Lake National Park. A lot has happened since. A LOT.
I’ve made it through Nelson Lake National Park. It was stunningly beautiful even though a bit challenging because of a couple of rainy and windy days… I got stuck in Blue Lake Hut for a day to wait out the rain before I could make it over Waiau Pass and enjoy the views over the amazingly beautiful Lake Constance.
I’ve passed the 2000 kilometer mark together with German Susy and French Barnabé. 2000! Felt a bit overwhelming even though I was a bit too tired to celebrate, we had a long day and I was pretty exhausted.
I’ve experienced the NZ sun, it’s something else from the one shining on me at home. The ozone layer down here is extremely thin and the sun is harsh and boiling hot, even without a 25 kilo backpack. But half of me loves it, I rather be here than in the dark and freezing winter in Sweden (even though I miss my family as h*ll!).
I’ve been in pain, my knees have been hurting and my hip has been really, really sore. I had to skip a section through the Deception River because of it and had to take three days off at The Sanctuary (the greatest place to stay in the village!) in Arthur’s Pass. I met Lucas from Germany, he’s a chiropractor and helped me get rid of the worst pain. Trail angel!
I’ve got stuck for three days at Mt Hutt Bunkhouse (amazing place!) because of my pain…and I’ve been hitching with a helicopter from Mt Hutt Helicopters over the huge rivers Rakaia and Rangitata (hazard zones that you’re meant to hitch around) – an amazing experience!
I’ve made it over Stag Saddle – the highest point on Te Araroa, and I’ve seen the beautiful lakes of sunny, hot Otago.
I’ve spent a night overlooking Mt Cook and I’ve been on a bike (thanks to trail angel Katrin who met me and brought me a bike and a lot of food!) for two days…trying to save my hip.
And…I’ve been skipping another section over Breast Hill due to a severe weather warning with heavy rain, thunder and gale winds…and I’ve caught a cold which I’m trying to cure with a couple of days off in beautiful Wanaka.
I have 412 kilometers to go. 412!!! Feels surreal. I’m almost there. Almost there.
I’ve tasted the South Island…it’s as bittersweet as the rest of Te Araroa. Harder than you could ever imagine and more beautiful than in your wildest dreams. I love it.
The Queen Charlotte Track was a beautiful and easy warmup for what’s to come…the majestic Richmond Ranges.
Steep uphill hiking. Steep downhill sliding. Countless river crossings and constantly wet feet. Narrow trail with adrenaline rushing through my body. Windy summits and beautiful ridge walking. Heavy rain and harsh, hot sun. Boulder climbing and slippery rocks. Pouring sweat and tears of exhaustion. But I made it. I conquered my fears and I made it out to St Arnaud and a well earned day off.
1941 kilometers are done and tomorrow, I’m off to Nelson Lake National Park together with my hiker buddies Stevie and Jackie from the US and Jamie from Australia. Another week in the wilderness awaits and I can’t wait! Are you still with me!?