Pitch dark, rain hammering in, doesn’t look quite the auspicious start to renewing my career as a long term tramper.

Heavy rain has been predicted for much of the next week, looks as if that drought and the long summer are history, to be talked about for years to come, that Great Summer of 2013.

There’s a 8 am ferry to make, then a bus to Nelson. That’s a bit different to riding a bike as I’ve been doing for the last few years in Australia, see cycletrailsaustralia.com. If you head to the South Island tramping is the way to go. She’s a rollicking old ride on Bluebridge, full on southerly today and forecast for the next week.

I arrive in Nelson, it’s pissing down.

Through the gloom I pick out the office where my father worked in the 60s, that’s the 1960s, and on the other side of Trafalgar Street the hideous ex-Post Office building that I worked a summer on as a kid, rendering the internals of the staircase, or at least mixing up the brew, trying to keep count of the shovels of cement in the mixer, and carrying a bag of cement on each shoulder to save on craneage. I was fit by the time we hit the 7th floor. Note I’m not pinning a date on those efforts.

It’s been 7 years since I was last here, a lot of water under the bridge, mostly over in drought stricken Australia. Soon I’ll be here to stay, on a permanent basis, in September.

This visit is to do three different tramps in the area: to St Arnaud, wander around Nelson Lakes National Park, not sure of the exact trajectory there and later meandering from the Cobb up the Karamea and into Little Wanganui.

The rain still comes down and I find I have a problem.

Somewhat major.

I was getting a numb bum on the bus sitting on my wallet so I transferred it to an internal pocket of my new jacket.

Decamp bus: no wallet, I’ve $20 in my pocket and absolutely no ID.

This is serious.

The pocket turns out not to be a pocket, it’s a flap, open at the bottom.

I check everywhere: in my real pockets and complete luggage.

Surprisingly the bus is still here after 10 minutes so I go back and check the floor.


Did I mention the rain? Talk about gloom.

I chat to the driver, he explains he’s almost exceeded his allowed time at the wheel and has had to take an hour’s break before moving to his next destination hence him still lurking around. 5 minutes later he appears waving the aforesaid errant necessity to my future well being, it was wedged in a seat halfway down the aisle.


Actually super lucky.

The gloom is lifting, I’m still on track.

Day 1 | Rocks Hut: back in the old stamping ground →