Showers early on, and clearing apparently.

When I looked out my bedroom window in the early morning light it looked more hopeful than that.


Yeah, it was early morning, the bus departs Nelson shortly after 7 am.

By the time I reached Marahau there were a few spots of rain, and I moved off to the café to get a coffee fix. No need to hurry things, it was just after 9 am.

The bus had been half full, the others intending on the Coastal Route, and were not as well-prepared as needed. I waited in line for my coffee while someone, successfully, bought a couple of garbage bags to protect their pack from excessive wetness. All were camping and having their sleeping bag, indeed a whole jumble of items, attached to the exterior of their pack. Well, I suspected those thin plastic bags might not be sufficient.

In any case they would all be in tents for the next three nights. Plenty of giggling and otherwise nervous laughter about what the future held.

The drizzle had almost stopped when I set off. It’s not as bad walking in rain as you might imagine, well, that’s my theory.

I was the first of the bus contingent to make my way across the first few kilometres of Coastal Track. There were a few hardy souls who were making their way back to civilisation after the night at Anchorage, plus a few early birds deciding to return early on a day trip. A surprising number were poorly attired for the conditions.

Then it was peeling off in a more solitary time.

Castle Rock Hut is at 670 m but with a few ups and downs that later proved to be over 1000 m of climbing.

Drizzle continued.

In the distance I could hear voices, and when I reach the junction with the track from Anchorage a group was taking a break. 15 high school students from Dunedin and their two teachers. That’s going to be a huge chunk of people at the hut.

Fortunately the rain didn’t really set in until after I made it to shelter. The others were not so lucky. Two locals had started the fire, which seemed more smoke than fire unlike the proverb, much of which was still inside the hut.

Near dark the first group of students arrived, cold and wet. A few dropped their packs and went to assist the stragglers, who arrived half an hour after the darkness, also cold and wet, but with a few who were distinctly in various stages of being distraught. Lots of tears, and hugs dispensed by the more emotionally stable.

The hut interior was chaos for a while, but soon all the tents were up, despite a heavy downpour. People were eventually fed, the mood lightened, and before long were horizontal in said tents.

So much for solitude.

Day 2 | Across to Awapoto Hut →