Invercargill, the Jewel of New Zealand
People we’ve met warned us ‘to not get our hopes up’ about Invercargill. Why the hell not? This place sells Walkers Crisps! Albeit at a massively inflated price, but when your tongue has gone six months without the sharp acidic tang of a slowly melting ‘proper’ Salt & Vinegar crisp, there no price too high ;)
The Fastest Indian
I’m sorely lacking in infos on this ‘Fastest Indian on planet Earth’ fellow. I understand it’s a movie, and book of course. But there my knowledge ends. Therefore, I shall just ‘improvise’ my own version for you.
Looks to me like this guy was always late to work. I imagine he got well ribbed for this at times, and got pretty sick of the ‘Captain Slow’ jokes. He needed a vehicle, but what? Well, what better than a rocket? Being a big fan of Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear, and Scrapheap Challenge, he didn’t let a little thing like rocket science hold him back. He busily set to work in the garage plinking, plonking and tinkering. And pretty soon, that old vespa he’d bought of that ageing mod Paul Weller down the boozer, was transformed. Unveiling it from the lock-up was a proud moment. It was Monday morning, and he was late for work, again. But, no matter. This bike has flames on it. Carefully fitting his aerodynamic enhancing feathered head dress, he struck a match, and lit the fuse… I’d have hoped he got to work on time. But I imagine, like all good movies, he probably comes a cropper and dies at the end. Poor fella. Still. It was an heroic effort.
Bluff / The Motopohue
We got into Bluff last night, decided climb ‘The Bluff’ this morning, then head down to coastal path and around to the main event -Stirling Point this afternoon.
Apparently Bluff is made up of a big volcanic bubble of this black granite stuff opposite.
View over Bluff and the South Island Beyond
Almost there, we’re right of the South Coast!
The sea!! We must be getting close now to the finishing line. Feels like we’re right at the end of the universe here. We decided to chill out for a bit and take in the moment… Have a rum and lime, and some fresh bread and butter for lunch. What could be better eh?
The thing I love about this spot is that it reminds me so much of Cornwall! The Lizard, the very tip of the UK, where I grew up. Crashing waves, green cliffs, the granite rocks beneath. Beautiful! We sat for a fair while here. I felt that, although we were about to reach our triumphant finale point, at the same time, I wanted to make it last as long as physically possible. Keep our Te Araroa alive as long as we could. This has been ‘life’ for us for so long – our nomadic existence. I suddenly didn’t want it to end. I felt a strange sadness I’d not expected to feel. Living in nature, carrying our wares on our back like giant multi-coloured snails, soon to be a memory – Our epic adventure was nearly done :'(
My god. Someone might actually make us take a shower too. Eeek! Frightening thought.
Walking Around the Coastal Path
Stirling Point in Sight
( I hope the champers is alright in the rucksack. Hopefully I’ve not shaken it up too much, or there’ll be a ‘horrible accident’ when we come to open it … ;) )
Whoop Whoop! We Dun It!!
So chuffed to be finished! But also a tiny bit sad it’s over… “Shall we walk back Cookie?”. Good luck to the Tasty Trekkers who’ll be finishing soon too! You guys rock :D
Loads more to update you with over the last two sections, so much has happened – ‘coming soon’ on the blog. Better get writing!
Our hair is still sticky with champagne spray, our socks are as crispy as battered Stuart Island Blue Cod and our boots are hung up for good. We’ll fill you in on the final details as soon as we can, there’s soooo much to get through.. We have to be out of New Zealand by the 17th of April before our 6 months visas run out, so we’re currently heading back up to Auckland to prepare to for the next leg of our holiday.
That’s right, after 6 months on holiday we’re going on holiday! The next leg is going to be quite a contrast, but fortunately Island No. 3 should only take us a few minutes to walk across!
This F1-podium-style celebration wasn’t that casual, and drew a little attention from the various families visiting the signpost with their kids. Two smelly English hikers screaming and pouring fake champagne over their heads, probably wasn’t the peaceful afternoon by the seaside they’d had planned ;) But most seemed happy to be the unwitting audience for the show – asking about what we’d done, and shaking our hands. Several even asked if they could have their pictures taken with us, haha! Brilliant :) You often get a variety of responses from people when you tell them about ‘the walk’. From blank confusion, to quiet suspicion and disbelief, to huge smiles and hugs. Overwhelmingly the Kiwi’s we’ve met seem super chuffed that we’d take so much time adventuring through their country, taking in the details, and venturing to the less visited places. We’ve been cheered on all the way by the lovely people we’ve met in huts, in campsites, up mountains, in pubs, and even by the side of the road. What an awesome bunch the Kiwis are, and what an amazing country. Can’t imagine a more interesting country to walk across!
Mixed emotions this afternoon, I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy for a while now, but even more so today. Excited to finish, but not wanting it to end, getting to the end, but then wondering ‘did we really earn it?’ Of course we have, I know that, we’ve tramped through all kinds of terrain and overcome all sorts of difficulties, not least of which getting Nicky fit ;) But in the end it’s bugged the shit out of me not sticking more closely to the official route, we arrived in Bluff by bus for christ’s sake! In retrospect I think we’ve maybe strayed a bit too far a bit too often, even though many of my highlights have been on our detours, they have definitely stollen a bit of thunder from the triumphant finish, like I felt on the CDT. That self-satisfying feeling that you’ve walked across an entire country every step of the way. I wasn’t even keen on the idea of coming down to Bluff at all once we realised there wasn’t time to walk here, I was trying to persuade Nicky to spend our remaining days hiking south of Queenstown then looping back via the Routeburn. But Nicky wanted to see the signpost, so down we came. I’m glad we did now, all that’s forgotten when you have a face full of champagne while spinning around a pole :)