Te Araroa Trail – Greenstone Mavora Walkway
I started on Te Araroa trail at 6.50 am this morning with a nice fresh pair of legs, itching to get down the Greenstone Mavora walkway. It was a beautiful misty morning. The trail climbed gently from Greenstone hut through beech forest, where I spent the first 2 hours clearing cobwebs from the narrow path before reaching the saddle. The trail became a mix of tussock and bog, and I came upon a peaty-looking brown lake and wondered if this is what the Scottish Highlands might look like.
Tussock and Bog
The sun came out at 9 am and thankfully there was a gentle cool breeze. Everything else around me was so still – there wasn’t a sound except the odd chirrup of crickets and birdsong. I thanked my lucky stars (again) that I had all of this to myself.
I continued on the saddle through the tussock (in this case exceptionally large mounds of long brown grass) which you’d think might be easy, but some of which are taller than me! They are also interspersed with grassy/mossy mounds, boulders, bog, and little streams, so you have to be on the lookout for the next orange marker on a pole somewhere far away, plus be looking at your feet in case of tripping, or stepping in a hole.
Taipo hut to Boundary hut
I reached Taipo hut at 10 am, had a quick break and donned plenty of sunscreen. I had seen no one else all morning – such a treat!
The next section to Boundary hut was spent walking over glacial moraines, again crossing numerous little streams (all crossble without wet feet). Sadly I came across a few which were choked with bright green or brown slime.. I’m assuming it was Didymo (?). I’ve never seen it before, but it looked pretty hideous.
I saw lots of butterflies today, mostly small orange, white and blue ones. There were lots of crickets and cicadas too. I carried one with me for a while – I’m not sure where he was but he was singing away somewhere just over my shoulder.
As an aside… Did you know that bumblebees love the colour blue? Whenever I get to a hut the person in blue is always inundated with curious bumblebees. Apparently, it’s because blue/violet coloured flowers are the ones most rich in pollen (e.g lavender) so bumblebees are drawn to the colour.
I passed Boundary hut at 2 pm but didn’t call in.
Boundary hut to Careys hut
Careys hut and Tenting at North Mavora Lake
I arrived at Careys hut at 3.30 pm on the shore of North Mavora Lake. It was absolutely stunning. In fact, looking back on it, the whole day had been wonderful, and I wish I had written more about the journey. I can’t explain why, but I’d say it was up there with the Timaru > Stody’s > Breast Hill day (but without all the dramatics).
I wanted to free camp on the lakeshore, so I walked about 600m around the shore and found a great little shady spot. It didn’t score highly for ‘flatness’ but more than made up for it in solitude and phenomenal views over North Mavora lake and the mountains all around.
I did my usual camp setup routine, then went for a swim. The water was beautiful and clear and the views were spectacular. Upon exiting the water there were no sandflies!
A wonderful evening at North Mavora Lake
In the evening I mended my latest pair of shoes at the weak spot on the sides of the toe box (where all pairs have required a few stitches). I dined in the sun, on the beach by the lake surrounded by the huge mountains.
My music was the sound of the little waves on the lakeshore, and when the breeze picked up I could hear the rustling of the trees all the way across the other side of the lake (thankfully no boats or jetskis this far up the lake). It really doesn’t get much better than this!!
This evening I noticed for the first time how the further I go South, the lighter it gets at night, even though the solstice is over a month past. At the time of writing it was 9.50 pm and still light!
Another milestone today, as I entered the Southland region.