I’ve luxuriated in Shooters Backpackers in Tuatapere for a couple of nights.

What wasn’t there to like?

I shared the 50-bed place with a Frenchwoman. Separate rooms. The Internet was speedier than home, and the hot water in the shower could knock a bloke over.

I watched the second Bledisloe rugby test with the locals in the pub, although my capacity for alcohol was a fraction of those more accustomed to the place.

All my clothes from the previous nine day tramp on the South Coast Track were washed, and the day allowed drying as well. I had a dorm room to myself and managed to spread myself about.

Quality rather than quantity eating.

Today was a run into Invercargill for a re-supply, but rather than staying the night I decided to head immediately for Oban in the afternoon. The 3 30 pm ferry departure for Stewart Island/Rakiura left sufficient time to head back to a sports shop that had both decent overtrou, to replace my knee-to-knee split pair damaged on the South Coast Trail, and new Quagmire gaiters that were replacing my pair that were approaching terminal usage.

Might as well go well-prepared on this track where both items are essential in the standard mucky conditions.

The ferry trip was reasonably benign, except for a group of international youth who defied instructions to the contrary by larking about out on the deck that was periodically drenched with spray. And because you cut across the often significant Foveaux Strait waves at 45º it’s usually a fair old roller coaster ride as well.

Unfortunately, being the low winter season there is an issue with accommodation on the island. One backpackers is open, but won’t be by the time I return. Renovations apparently. A single room is not that much more expensive at the South Sea Hotel.

Well, it is.

It’s way over my preferred budget, but for once I shell out. My rationale is I’d like to leave my travelling gear somewhere for when I return, rather than stomp around in smelly clothes and wet boots for another day. So, two expensive nights is not the end of the world, even if I’m feeling like I’m near it.

Additional expense for baked blue cod at the bar of the South Sea Hotel.

Yeah, that is why I returned to New Zealand.

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.

Now that was a surprise.

Don’t think I’ll last too long downstairs in the pub. I’m marching off in the morning, whatever the weather.

Think I have everything. Just need to do a top up of my batteries.

Day 1 | Port William →