It seemed a better bet to look at Fidget Biv first, the furthest down the Clarence River. My rationale was that it looked more accessible, being not as far up a stream as the other two I was contemplating: Dubious and Limestone.

The next, Dubious Bivvy, looked the toughest, and it might be better to unload some of my food first. So that meant getting all the way to Goose Flat, 25 km or so on a four-wheel drive track.

Thanks to getting up at 6 am, I was away after 8 am despite more conversation. I wouldn’t be in any populated section of the river, so I’d better make the most human interaction.

I hung out at Quail Flat Homestead again for a while but eventually wandered off. I had hitched a lift with a farm worker over the next few kilometres, as far as the Clarence River crossing, on my 2018 Blenheim to Kaikoura trip.

I stopped after crossing ankle-deep Limestone Creek, which I was hoping to go up in a few days.

Then a 450 m climb started. Plenty of down as well, so the climbing certainly added up.

Great views all day down into the river, although by late afternoon I was way above it. Some sprinkling clouds encouraged putting on my raincoat, but it didn’t last long.

It was 7 pm when I finally started putting up my tent under a spreading willow tree down by the river. There used to be a decent DOC hut at Goose Flat, but this burned down when a campfire lit by some rafters got out of control. The old hut survived, even though a large willow tree immediately adjacent didn’t, but the lack of a decent window and the dusty dirt floor seemed unappealing when I could camp under a tree close to the river.

It had turned into the longest day’s walking for quite a while. Still plenty of food aboard, so my exercise level was high.

I will sleep well again.

I camped under a spreading willow tree near: Goose Flat Hut

The newer hut was between the old hut and the toilet. The willow tree burned. | Historic Goose Flat Hut, Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park
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