Showers at night meant the freezing water tank wasn’t an issue, but the day had plenty of blue sky and some puffy clouds on offer.

It’s Paradise here in DOC’s most southerly hut that doesn’t require additional water transportation. Actually, the huts further south, the five around Port Adventure and Lords River/Tūtaekawetoweto, and the two at Port Pegasus/Pakihaititi are all Rakiura Hunters Trust, and the 15 or so on the Tītī/Muttonbird Islands are private.

I have spent quite a few days at Doughboy Bay, 15 nights in total over the years, and it rates highly as one of my favourite destinations.

Most nights I’ve been on my own, the exception being my three nights in a tent in the summer of 2014 – 15 when a cast of 30 trampers passed through while I was resident.

No question, it feels remote, and at this time of year, it doesn’t receive many guests.

At low tide, it is possible to walk in either direction along the beach. To the south are feeding dotterels and a patch of mussels. To the west, it’s a short forest walk to a granite promontory where ocean swells move perpendicular to the shore. Neither is possible on this occasion due to lunchtime high tides.

I pottered about collecting firewood from the beach, then sawing it to length for the Yukon, and cleaning the windows to get a better appreciation for the views. Shave 10 days’ growth of beard. Eating. Someone had left a stash of pasta that could be supplemented with my standard tiny cheese and salami portions for two lunches.

The truth is that this is my kind of Little Adventure these days. A reasonably well-marked trail, that still requires some considerable effort to traverse, with a decent supply of huts. It helps that the obstacles are mostly soggy bogs that can be reasonably easily negotiated with some experience, rather than hours of strenuous mountain climbing, or perilous river crossings.

Relatively benign mid-winter weather helps. It’s certainly warmer down south than my nights in the Seaward Kaikouras on the way there. And the lack of company, even if it wasn’t in times of Covid was certainly a plus in my view.

Not that I’m totally antisocial, but a week or two away from others helps me sort out my own thoughts and come to conclusions about what future priorities should be. It takes a surprisingly long time for my mind to stop its churning and calm down. Then I can just focus on what is happening during the day.

Oh. Nothing much happened today.

A walk down to the track signpost to the south. Dragging silver beech saplings along the beach a number of times, then sawing into shorter, but not potbelly-style lengths, for future occupants. Cleaning the windows and having that shave. More walks down to the seal pup that couldn’t discern me, particularly when I stood still.

Cloudy, but few day showers.

Calm. Peaceful, if not serene.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Doughboy Hut

Doughboy Bay Hut, Southern Circuit, Stewart Island
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