Location: Picton, still
Weather: no single cloud and really really hot, fit for a water fight! :)
Sorry for the long wait.. after having been out on the Queen Charlotte Track for 3 nights and really enjoying the time the fun continued here at the Juggler’s Rest. Interesting people coming through, a few fire shows and lots of fun work plus the mandatory chilling out in the hammocks – I just love this place!
But back to the beginning and the Queen Charlotte Track.. the boat dropped me off at Ship Cove , 72 kms from the end of the track, at 9 in the morning after a 1 hour ride out. It was a really really nice fast ride with the sun coming up and sparkling on the water. I didn’t see any dolphins (although there are said to be heaps out there, NZ’s a dolphin and whale country), but there was one single penguin. Yay!
Ship Cove is the place where Captain Cook landed first on the South Island and there’s a monument for that, but after you start on the track you stand in original old jungle. Fern trees, palm trees and heaps and heaps of interesting and exotic plants.. wow! The first day is a 9 hours walk, at least that’s what the signs from the DOC say (= Department of Conservation). It took me about 7 hours to complete, but as I was trying to find a detour to a waterfall in between I still walked about 8 hours. My big backpack with all the equipment was transported, so I didn’t have to bother with that.. well, at least that day. It was a really pleasant walk with nice woods and views over the blue water of the Sounds. :) The track is really good to walk and impossible to miss (nice because I lost my map on the boat.. ^^;), but that waterfall track was a mess. After a few hundred metres on a small path over roots and through bush it crossed the small stream and just vanished, and no waterfall in sight. It was like a one man jungle expedition – if I stayed longer at that area I would have gotten a compass and a big big knife and gone and searched for the waterfall, but I still had a few hours of trecking before me and so couldn’t investigate further – too bad.. :/
First night – Camp Bay, DOC camp site. Basically it’s a place to pitch your tent, plus a water supply (I suspect they just put a tap on one of the small streams ’cause they made you treat the water before drinking) and a toilet. I was glad to find my big pack on the jetty and just sit down.. phew. Long day. Pitching the tent, cooking something with a small stove, sitting at the waterfront and sighting a few strange fish and a nice dog from the resort in the area.. :) Peace. Except for the sandflies that are out there to eat you.. and then going to sleep when darkness falls.
Walking on the second day was a bit harder because I had to carry all my stuff (must have been between 13 and 15 kgs, depending on the state of my 1.5 litres water bottle and on how much food there was left) and because the track now takes on the hills. But walking right on the ridge leads to even better views in all directions; it’s simply amazing! And as the sandflies prefer to be close to the waterline, the second camp at Black Rock was completely sandfly free!! But there were other animals, such as the Weka, who are after your food and try to steal your plastic bags and even go after the stuff you’re eating or Possums, that are just everywhere. A wonderful peaceful night; I’ve never ever experienced a place so quiet you could hear the silence.
Third day – hm… wonderful outlooks again (Sorry, just had to drench you in those.. ^^;).. and at the evening camping down at the waterline again. A nice thing about NZ is that if there is food out there you can just help yourself – in this case shellfish for my dinner! Just walk 10 cms into the water at low tide and dig.. there you go, doesn’t take you more than five minutes! :) Mjam!
Wow, what a long way!
Now, I guess everyone already had problems loading all those pictures, so I’ll give you the rest of the story some other day.. maybe tomorrow.. or the day after that.. ^^