First flat day since leaving Queenstown so I’m cranking.

The weather was some encouragement, at least early on. While there were pure blue skies initially it was plenty windy, by the time I packed up and left it was starting to rain, a huge bright rainbow behind me.

I trudged out 10 km down a 4WD road, rabbits running everywhere, passing a good campsite at Lake Ruatanawhai, then it started getting seriously wet.

At the highway was a salmon farm with salmon cafe. I stopped to get out of the rain, and had a tremendous salmon bagel with cream cheese, warm. One thing you can say about my peculiarly austere diet, when you get to indulge in the taste sensations normally associated with civilisation it can be a intense experience.

After adding another long sleeved wool layer the wind died somewhat, the rain took some time to do likewise, but even the drizzle had stopped as I made it into Twizel for a more substantial lunch and a gathering of supplies for the next few days. Not much point in loading up excessively when there is another 4 Square supermarket at Tekapo, where I’ll be taking aboard enough food to get to Arthurs Pass, that it has to be at least ten days required.

When you leave Twizel you get out onto a treeless, shrubless plain, amazing 360° views, rain now confined to the hills, that’s snow up there, down to about 1000 m. That will be a serious challenge for the ultra-lightweight walkers, cold enough up there before any snow, even with my decent equipment.

No clouds overhead, pure sunshine but the wind continued vigorously.

Somehow I think it’s about 70 km to get to Tekapo and make about 10 km from Twizel. Big day tomorrow to clock in as much as possible while the going is easy.

Anyway, came over a hill, there’s Highway 8 and more impressively, the iridescent blue of Lake Pukaki.

At 5 30 pm there’s a patch of trees down by the lake a kilometre or so ahead, looks promising. Actually it’s an official DOC campsite, I think, or a freedom campsite, there’s about 30 campervans down on the lake.

I pop my tent up on a nice spot in the forest. No major lake views for me, instead I have opted for shelter, there will be plenty of views tomorrow. And for once I enjoy a more diverse diet, that’s one of the pleasures of passing through a town.

It’s been quite the variable day but I can say it’s been entirely outstanding.

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