Getting out of Queenstown was almost as bad as the Bluff exit nightmare, ie, a long trek in fairly brutal terrain.

Bluff was the boredom of a flat 25 km on the side of a busy highway.

Today was cars/buses/trucks, construction zones and diversions, the surreal suburbville of the Lake Hayes Estate, some country club, daytripper cyclists on the Queenstown Trail, until I finally came into the excessively picturesque Arrowtown with all the twee shops and shoppers.

Lake Hayes was attractive enough although the mass of huge houses that litter the other side are contradicting to the original reason people had in coming here, they ain’t so picturesque.

The old Shotover bridge was interesting, despite the rain the river was running quite low to these eyes, a beautiful grey green colour, no need for me to experience the river in an adrenaline rush onboard a closely packed jet boat, from above is alright for me, no noises other than the hum of traffic on the 1975 replacement bridge 100 m downstream and the river in itself. And the occasional dog walker, or runner.

The day was more or less cloudless, some high haze late in the day. Summer is here.

I’m well prepared. I had 50 strength sunscreen applied liberally, my Lawrence of Arabia headgear and a new long sleeved shirt with collar I found yesterday, planning for some hot summer days ahead.

I staggered into Arrowtown somewhat parched and was ready to eat something. The famous bakery was close at hand and for once I succumbed to a couple of the goodies and can personally vouch for the fame being warranted. Have to say this is a tramp unlike any previously undertaken with all the indulgent stuff.

I installed the Motutapu track on my GPS and was surprised to find that there’s another track to get over prior to the beginning that one. It might only be three hours to get over but the fact it’s called Big Hill might give some indication of how tomorrow bodes.

I’m camped just beyond the turn off, behind a fallen small tree, not exactly visible, there are still daytrippers and cyclists on the other tracks that branch at this point. I whack the tent up at 7 pm when most will be tucking into their dinner. After my monster calorific intake courtesy of the bakery around 4 30 pm no cooking is required tonight.

I’m right by a rushing stream and frankly it’s a better campsite than what I paid $50 for two nights horizontal in Queenstown.

There won’t be any all-night lights on here.

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