Any day walking from Bluff to Invercargill mostly along the highway is never going to be inspiring, particularly when you throw in, for my case, the ferry trip over from Stewart Island, the strait quite choppy, that’s the technical term.
From the ferry terminal it’s just a couple of kilometres down to the end of the Highway 1 to get to the iconic sign, also the start of Te Araroa. Everyone else gets back into their car and zooms off, or with the experienced, or lazy, tourists, you take the photo through your car’s windscreen. There’s a continual flow of people traveling to the termination of this highway, most look bewildered as to what to do next.
People intending to tramp off north, say Cape Reinga, 2996 km away, or to places not quite so distant, start on a good walking track on the other side of Bluff Hill, maybe it’s called Bluff Bluff, although the path does quickly deteriorate and some route finding across paddocks is required. The view is spectacular at times, you come across a spot where whalers sat whiling the time away, Stewart Island is visible and the wind is blasting in. After about 8km you end up back on the highway, it’s somewhat of a surprise that after two hours effort you are still on the outskirts of Bluff.
The less said about the long road bash, much of the next 25 km to Invercargill, the better, some may prefer scrub bashing for a similar amount of time. It is peak school holidays, tourism is in full swing, the Stewart Island bus shuttle passes three times, well, at least I saved the $24 fare.
I was conscious to get to Tuatara Backpackers before 7pm, having not pre-booked a bunk, and staggered in with 10 minutes to spare. This time an airless room awaited, no windows, not so great for the other guy with my wet boots and two weeks of dirty laundry from Stewart Island but he had just done the North-west Circuit and his olfactory system seemed to have been desensitised.
Almost 37 km today with the admittedly lighter pack and I celebrated my arrival in a town that offers much of what is normally accepted as Civilisation by hobbling to the supermarket in my shorts and jandals, looking quite the local.TA Day 3 | Taunamau Creek, Oreti Beach, 10km from Riverton →