Distance walked – 34 kms
Invercargill to Bluff.
I spent the last night in my tent under some pine trees on the outskirts of town.
The first 11 kms were on a bike trail through the wetlands south of town. The trail then connected with state highway 1 and there was about 15 k of road walking (not the best way to finish) the road was surprising busy and there were non stop trucks heading to port Bluff and a local quarry. With only a narrow shoulder it was fairly hairy walking.
About 8 km from the end, the trail heads off the road and goes behind Bluff hill. This reminded me of the islands of Scotland. It was rugged and rough, with the weather adding to the atmosphere.
As fate would have it it started to pour down with about 5 kms to go.
Marten and I walked to the end point and reached it without any fanfare. I was glad to reach the end knowing what I had achieved and looking forward to heading home to see family and friends.
We took the obligatory photos under the Bluff sign. But didn’t hang about because of the inclement weather.
We were pretty happy and an elderly couple were standing nearby and asked us what we were celebrating, so we told them our story. They were well impressed. I dropped in the conversation that we just need to get back to invercargill for a hot shower. Without hesitation the elderly gentleman said “moira, were taking these boys back to Invercargill”, so we got in his car and he dropped us off at our accomodation. Gold.
Reflecting back on the journey, at the end of the north island I enjoyed the people I met, genuine and helpful kiwi’s and other hikers. But now that I’m done the best thing about the trip has been the encouragement and suppport I have received from my family and friends. There are too many to mention, but you know who you are!
You drove me around (to the trail), you gave me a bed, you fed me, you washed my clothes, you encouraged me with your kind words (and emails), you walked sections with me and for that I am truely overwhelmed and thankful.
3000 kms of trail walked (plus a whole lot more getting to shops, accomodation)
100 days of walking.
7 rest days. 6 in the north island and only 1 in the South Island.
I averaged 30 kms per day.
I used 5 pairs of shoes/boots
I used 4 gas canisters.
I lost 3 toenails
I went through 2 phones.
I lost 17 kgs (which was a little to much)
I slept in my tent, back country huts, youth hostels (yes I see the irony in that), a motel, friends house, friends of friends house, a bad weather shelter and with family.