Rakiura blog | August/September 2018
Stewart Island/Rakiura, eh?
Why am I here again?
That’s right. The best winter tramp in New Zealand.
I been down here a few times before at this time of the year, although most recently it was for my Tin Range excursion to see how far south I could go by foot in New Zealand.
That was summer.
This is definitely not.
My intention is to walk another full spin of the North West and Southern Circuits.
I’ve refined my food requirements these days. Lunch was always difficult and heavy. Now I’m going lighter, so overall I’m hoping it isn’t the weight of my 19 day Little Adventure back in 2013.
Five years later, well, we will find out how fit I am, but there has been a few lead-in tramps this time around. The Copland Track, three days, and the South Coast Track, nine days.
All that exercise has helped remove a few superfluous kilos.
While I was noshing out a drunken guy in a bush shirt came over to the piano and knocked out a charming classical piece quite adeptly, then belched loudly and returned to his previous pastime.
For the first time in forever I’m in full tourist mode, but that will change in the next x number of days. What x equals I’m not certain, but it might be somewhere around 18 days by my reckoning.
I was in no particular hurry, after all it’s only three or four hours around the coast to Bungaree, and the weather was surprisingly good.
My friend in the other room has a major alarm clock. Some marching music, the time shouted out, then more loud marching. That’s second time around, and still no movement so I’m not sure it’s effective.
I chose to be here, at this time. Trained for it my whole life. Might as well appreciate these circumstances.
The passage of time doesn’t mean much here.
Long Harry is an obvious place for a day off from walking the North West Circuit because it is a comfortable, light-filled hut, roughly at the halfway point. Oh, and there is a good probability of seeing the kiwi or two, just by keeping an occasional eye out the window.
You are a long way from not much.
This is why tramping builds character. Having to put cold damp clothes on, in a cold damp hut.
Long tramps allow for recalibration. Where mind and body are re-appreciated, and cared for. A good dose of austerity and meagre rations, with a little hardship thrown in reconnects me to what really matters.
Here I am in Paradise, and I have it all to myself.
Beach. Sun. Mussels. Just a perfect, memorable day.
“Mind the Gap”, I thought in retrospect as I disappeared up to my knee in the putrid muck. Not the first to take the plunge that point.
Thought I was smelling like a wet dog, but now realised it was more like a dead dog.
That sort of Little Adventure was why I came to the island.
Yeah, Stewart Island/Rakiura is a great winter tramp. Particularly if you want extensive physical exercise, limited socialising, and the feeling of being completely cut off from the remainder of the world.