I realize this is not the best written blog and no photos but just too tired to complete it but i will tomorrow…
This is the account from Monday last!!
As we are out of WiFi range I am writing this on the track but before I get to today I have to tell you about how I got to Queenstown yesterday.
I had everything well planned...I left the house yesterday morning and drove to Auckland airport where I said goodbye to Mellow Yellow she had been a good friend and we had driven almost 3000km....from there they shuttled me to the terminal and knew I was over weight but amazing what a smile can do ..no worries I was even able to get a window seat in the exit row where there is extra leg room.....the flight left on time at 2pm and it was a two hour flight to Queenstown.. My arrangements were that I had a rental car booked at the airport and I would then drive down town to where the pre hike meeting was and afterwards drive to my accommodation at an airbnb and then this morning drive back down town drop the car off two minutes from where we were to meet for the hike..... Well all was going well till we started the approach into Queenstown the airport is in the valley surrounded by two mountain ranges and there was a huge wind blowing the plane around so badly many of the passengers were screaming..... The plane approached and we were within perhaps 30 feet of the run way when the pilot decided he could not land gave it the thrust and up we went.....it was quite a scary moment ! !!!!
After he reached altitude again the captain informed us that the conditions were too bad for us to try again and that we were being diverted to Christchurch !!!
We arrived at 5pm and waited on the tarmac till eventually we were told that conditions had worsened and we would get off the plane and would be bussed to Queenstown...... A drive of over 7 hours.... I borrowed a cell phone and called my hostess and explained what had happened and was it still OK for me to come and she said of course she would leave a light on and the key outside....so the bus ride was not really pleasant and we arrived back at the airport in Queenstown at 2.30am...no taxis as the airport closes down at dusk because they do not have night flights...l managed to share a taxi with a couple and finally arrived just before 3am....very tired so went to sleep and up at six o'clock and met my hostess who was sweet and she made me some breakfast and arranged for a cab to come for me at 7.45am....I then quickly packed my back pack......left my suitcase at the house as I am staying there the night I get back from the hike and when the taxi came got to the hiking office in plenty of time.... and it was not till then that I realized I had left my hiking pole in my suitcase but the company kindly lent me one.....so it was an eventful start to the trek.
So we were given a final talk and 47 of us got on a bus!!!!!just what I needed another bus ride and two hours later were at our lunch stop and then after lunch a short drive to the dock in Te Anau ready to take the ferry boat one hour down the sound.
There are 4 guides with us one leader Kelley and he has three lovely girls assisting him one of them is Japanese as there are 28 Japanese in the group....the rest are all from different countries and ages and all very friendly and interesting,... The ferry ride was good and then we were let off at the start of our track.
Today was an easy day with a 30minute walk to the lodge where we were staying and boy I was not expecting such great accommodation.... I am in a six bunk dorm room but with only three of us here so we all get bottom bunks and they supply everything very nice rooms fantastic showers and bathrooms and wonderful washing facilities and drying room so all our gear is washed and dry for tomorrow.
We then had a group photo and off on a 90 guided hike explaining the area and the plant life and back in time for drinks if you want them and at 6pm sat down for supper and it was three courses and five stars...there were three choices I chose and ate for the first time venison and it was really good..salads and pie and ice cream....just a wonderful feast...after dinner we had a social get together and we all introduced ourselves ....I am writing this at 9.45pm because at ten the generator goes off.....did I mention that they supply hot water bottles and mine is in my bed as I write!!!!
The room is great and my two room mates are interesting one is from NZ the other man is English and actually was born in the same town as I was.
When the generator went off I was ready to sleep and there was a snorer and it was an issue but not complaining.
The generator came on at 6.45am and I felt good got up and went into the lounge and had tea and wrote some more blog and then at 7.30 they served wonderful porridge and cereal and a few minutes later eggs and bacon toast yogurt it was so wonderful..,they also had two tables set up with breads of all kinds and every kind of sandwich filler you could think and you make your own lunch... Also available fruit, nuts and chocolate... They really have thought of everything....so after getting my pack ready and waterproofed I was ready to leave by 8.30am.
The system they use is one guide leads two more go back and forth and then Kelly brings up the rear you just walk at your pace but cannot pass the lead guide.
The weather was a little damp and small spits of rain but not cold it was a walk on a good path through the rain forest and beside the river....everywhere you looked there was waterfalls gushing down the mountainside some small just trickles and some quite large..... At times I walked with others but mainly on my own and I like it that way.......enjoying the scenery!!
Around noon reached the hut where we stop and have our lunch they provided hot drinks..,.I sweat really hard so after a few minutes I was getting cold.... It was about two miles to the lodge where we were staying the night and one of the guides told me if I wanted I could go on ahead they would radio the lodge and let them know so I did.
This part of the hike was the nicest with waterfalls and birds......this is a robin....then the duck family and then I turned a corner and this guy was walking on the path towards me and he just kept coming I moved off the path and he walked right past me.
This was my favourite shot of the day......I was first to arrive at the lodge and was greeted with juice and cookies and shown to my room because of the snorer they moved me into another room with four other guys just hope that they don't snore!!!!
I unpacked and put my backpack and boots into a tepid heated drying room and then washed all my clothes and put them in the really hot drying room and they will be dry in two hours.
Went and had a great long hot shower.., so hiked about nine miles and I feel really good!!
I went into the lounge and could not believe that they brought in these.... Scones with jam and real cream!!!!
I did some of the blog and then at the entertainment article in the form of a helicopter bringing in the food supplies..... Wow these pilots have to know what they are doing!!
At six they served another delicious three course meal. The night before we retired they give you a sheet with the choices for the next day.Tonight I had chicken. Mmmm....after dinner we had a slide show and then I just took some quiet time and read.
The next entertainment was these birds or parrots called Kia apparently they love hiking boots and we are advised not to leave our boots outside.
Again the generator was turned off at 10pm I just hope my three new room mates don't keep me up!!!!!!..so ends a great day in the spectacular wilderness!!
Not a chance!!!!!snorers paradise did not sleep much but I just decided to talk to the head guide and see if there was a private room I would be willing to pay for he just said leave it with me I will do something.
The generator came on at 6.15am as today was going to be the tough day!!!!
Another great breakfast and again an opportunity to make my own lunch and I was set to leave by 7.30am.
Fortunately we were blessed with good weather no rain and I was on my way.... The scenery again was spectacular and again many waterfalls.
After a couple of miles the accent started and it was long and hard and near the summit the winds were gale force.....made it to the highest point on the track and the views were awesome.
There was a lunch hut close by and the hot tea was very welcome.....again I was getting cold from sitting and was allowed to leave and make my way down the mountain to the lodge and arrived there at 1.30pm and walked almost ten miles and I must admit coming down was hard on my knees.
I was welcomed at the lodge with cold drinks and shown to my room and to my delight was assigned a room with just Paul and myself and the room is exactly the same standard as the others..... From this lodge there is an optional 45 minute hike to the tallest waterfalls in NZ so you know that I was up for that and I hiked up there with Robert and his son Liam and nice men they were….. oh my never really seen anything like this waterfall and the thundering sounds were great... Tried to get close but as it was I got absolutely drenched from the spray.... But what a sight.!!!
Back at the lodge did my laundry and into the drying room and then a really long hot shower and then into the lounge for fresh muffins and tea before dinner was served at 7pm and again a choice and again a wonderful meal.
10pm came quickly and the generator went off and hopefully I am heading for slumber land!!!!
Another great hike and I look forward to the challenge of tomorrow the longest hike nearly 14 miles.
Managed a really good sleep despite the torrential downpour all night and it was still raining when we had breakfast.,... We were told this was going to be a hard day because of all the rain the waterfalls would be gorgeous but also the river was swollen and some of the track was under water and at times we would be going through almost waist deep water but the best way I do it is to just wade right through.
I left and was well prepared and it was a bit miserable and then we came to the flooded areas and it was up to my mid thigh but not really cold....there was a stretch of about 100 yards and I made it without incident..... The scenery was quite lovely and the miles just kept diminishing and at 2pm I was with a group of about ten who arrived at Sandfly point the end of the journey!
Shortly afterwards we boarded a boat to the lodge where we are staying tonight. Again another surprise I had a room to myself with a bath tub!!!
First things first was to put my soaked boots and backpack into one of the drying rooms and then washed my clothes and put them in the hot drying room and then I ran a bath and was so excited and I even bought for five dollars some bath salts they were selling.,opened the salt and turned the tap on waited until it was half full and got in only to find it was like warm..oh well!
Tonight was another wonderful three course meal and afterwards we had a farewell ceremony and were handed a really nice certificate.
Tomorrow after breakfast we have a 90 minute boat ride in the Millford sound which is where I was a few weeks ago on the cruise ship then transported back to Queenstown.
This has been a remarkable journey the four guides were absolutely top notch.... The lodges food rooms everything five star and I met some very special people...a journey I shall not forget and as always so thankful to have walked this hike without any health concerns!!!!!
Sorry I will finish this and insert photos…a wonderful hike that i shall never forget……