My morning routine was probably the most chaotic ever! As there was no wind at all I had a decidedly dewy-wet tent and the sandflies were back in abundance. I spent the takedown and breakfast moving, slapping and batting like a mad woman!
It turned out to be another scorcher of a day. I got to the Mavora lakes campsite at 11am via the 4 wheel drive track. Most of it was a real 4WD track too – pretty gnarly ups/downs (if you’re in a vehicle), rocks, boulders, dips, rivers huge puddles etc. Judging by the number of buggies and motorbikes who passed me, it’s well used too. It was a beautiful walk.
I used the facilities at the Mavora Lake campsite and judging by the uncomposted pinnacle of poo in the toilet, I’d say this is site is packed in the height of summer.. that part wasn’t so nice. I continued through the campsite on the trail and reached the second swing bridge at the South Mavora lakes at 1pm after a lovely chat with a NOBO couple from the USA. I had lunch in a cool shady spot. The water in the lake was clear and emerald green, and there were a few fly fishermen trying their luck.
I left at 1.30, and headed towards the 3rd swing bridge (en route to Kiwi Burn hut) on the same/right hand side of the river. I reached it around 3.30pm. (Just over the bridge there is a toilet and possible camping).
I dithered for a while. I was decidedly low on food. I had one more breakfast, lunch and dinner left for tomorrow, but I was completely out of extras/snacks and I was hungry!! My stomach told me to hitch to Te Anau for resupply and skip the next 30km river and road walk. Poor form really, but a hungry tiny tramper isn’t a happy one!!
I figured that day trippers from Mavora lakes might be heading back towards Te Anau, and luckily they arrived within 20 minutes in the form of a cute young German couple Paula and Fabian, who gave me a lift in their lovely little van. I checked into the Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park In the evening I did my resupply shopping and went for a very large and delicious bowl of pasta from La Tosncana, which I spent digesting until approximately 2am!
During that time I re-thought my immediate hiking plans. I’ve recently sorted my post-TA 2018 whereabouts, which involves lengthy visits to see my family in the USA and UK returning to NZ in September. So now that I have a plan with flights booked etc. I’ve decided that I’m going to leave Stewart Island for another time. Stewart Island isn’t on Te Araroa trail, but I was intending to tag it on at the end. However my Te Araroa Trail finish line is Lake Tekapo. In case you missed it, I skipped the Richmond and Nelson ranges in early January due to bad weather – so I’ll go back up to give it another go. I’ll do it SOBO again to avoid the Te Araroa crowds who will currently be somewhere slightly further south in the middle part of the S.Island by then.
Without Stewart Island, it looks like I’ll be finished around mid March. This gives me a month to sort myself out and possibly squeeze in a few weeks work before my holidays!
I’m looking forward to a rest day in Te Anau, before hitching back out to start the Southland stretch of the trail to Bluff over the coming week.