After waiting for the tropical cyclone to pass with little to no drama it was off through to Hawea and Wanaka before the bright lights of Queenstown.
From Lake Ohau the trail climbs the East Ahuri track before dropping into the East Ahuri river. The landscape up here is rugged and once out of the forest cover there isn’t much but tussock and lizards, thousands of lizards (Nz skinks). Every step taken for this section of the trail there seems to be one bathing in the sun just where you are about to plant your feet. The trail continued down the east branch to the main river and a major crossing, not to tricky when we crossed but with a little rain it could easily be impassable. From the river the trail moves through private land past a neat wee tin hut and over Martha’s pass before descending down the Timaru river which I followed the whole way through to Lake Hawea.
From Hawea the trail follows the river track through to Albert town then round the Clutha outlet trail and into my favourite South Island town Wanaka. I ended up whiling away four days here, a place the won’t let you leave.
From Wanaka it’s the hardest section of the trail, three days over the Motatapu track through to Arrowtown and the tourist pit of Queenstown. The Motatapu track is stunning and involves a series of 1000m climbs and descents that are energy sapping before dropping down into the arrow river and out through the derelict mining town (Macetown) and into civilization. A highlight walking through here were the apple trees and a ripe raspberry patch.