At some point the whole shebang needs drying.

Not sure if the tent can get damper, both inside and out, a shower last night, condensation this morning. The sleeping bag similarly afflicted.

That encourages getting up, and saying Morning to the hut inhabitants, it’s nice to spend some time on a bench seat with a table to make brekkie.

Eventually I packed up, civilisation is on the agenda for today. I find from the hut book I was here on 26 October last year, there’s no surprises as I make my way to the car park, other than the weather is finally fine, some mist early on, but that all cleared to blue sky, cool, perfect marching weather.

When I get to the car park there’s quite a few vehicles, but no one around. There had been a contingent, a party of 12 on a guided walk, name tags pinned on, then a random group, probably another 12, in groups of two or travelling alone, that must be the 12 noon bus lot, so I’ve missed the bus. No hurry now, although I never intended to get that $50 trip to Queenstown, I’m chancing my luck with my thumb.

A note here, there is a break in the official Te Araroa at this point due to Lake Wakatipu, the trail stops at the Greenstone car park and begins again, somewhere, around Queenstown. Hitching is considered entirely acceptable, actually the only feasible solution due to the crazy traffic on parts of the Queenstown Road. Queenstown is technically south of Greenstone so it’s not considered cheating. There’s similar flexibility with crossing the Rangatata and Rakaia rivers as you head north. The long-term solution is to build a walkway along the south side of Lake Wakatipu from Frankton, some parts are already in place but the final link and landholder negotiations are yet to be achieved.

I walk 4 km, herding a belligerent flock of sheep in front before I pass the Greenstone Homestead and a 4WD shortly after pulled up to take me to the junction with the Paradise Road.

The first car then stops, a Chinese couple, who have difficulty understanding the one way bridge system, he charges on the bridge and is surprised to find that there isn’t much room for the other car to get passed, it’s a tight fit for just average car, then abruptly slams on the brakes and having to back some distance, speed having been gained, collided at pace with the guard rails, causing the rental company some paperwork. I survive and get to Glenorchy.

The first car goes past, then dangerously turns around to pick me up and takes me to town.

Three rides, each time the first car. Drivers: a German, a Chinese and a Sikh, complete with extensive turban. Just the one accident.

The first choice campsite is full but I find an alternative soon enough. The tent goes up in the sun, my sleeping bag out, it might be a dry old night finally.

Some fresh food and a shower. Doesn’t look as if I had as much of a tan as I had thought.

But man, this is a zoo, a total change from the Mavora walkway and what preceded it.

A crazy holiday town, many backpackers out for a good time, or just holiday makers in evidence, plenty of bare, tanned flesh, more than a few tattoos, it’s full on summer here, snow gone from the Remarkables, maybe I can cope with two nights here to fully recharge my batteries.

They do need somewhat of a boost.

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