It took us six days to walk from Boyle Village to Arthur’s Pass and we were looking forward to a shower and a comfy bed. Every last room was booked up for the big race, so we caught a ride back to the trail and stayed at the unassuming Bealy Hut.

Looking back toward Arthur’s Pass and the Coast to Coast race (the tents look like rocks from up here)

I love visiting all the huts as we walk south through New Zealand. The country has nearly 1000 huts (some people say there are even 2500!) and you never know how luxurious or how simple they’ll be until you get there. Here’s West Harper Hut, for example.

We decided to continue on to Hamilton Hut (which has earned the nickname Hilton Hut). What a beautiful place to relax.

Now that we’re beyond Arthur’s Pass, the scenery is completely different. We’ve gone from the wet west side of the continental divide to the much drier east side. The walking was flat, across river beds and through fields, and under volcanic looking hills.

In the afternoon a strong wind picked up, making the flat walking feel more like uphill.

Coming to the end of the trail at Lake Coleridge, we expected to camp for the night then begin a long gravel road walk the next day. Completely unexpectedly, a car pulled up asking if we wanted a ride! This is a very remote area and it’s pretty rare to see any vehicles, let alone one offering you an easy way back to civilization. When we set out to walk the length of New Zealand’s South Island a month ago, I was keen to walk every mile, making a continuous footpath. It didn’t take me long to decide that walking long distances on roads isn’t very fun. So, we were more than happy to take the ride.

The best part of getting into town is that there’s an adorable kitty at our hostel and she insists on sleeping on my pillow! Now, this is the break I needed from hiking.

Next Post: Rakaia River to Rangitata River

7 thoughts on “Harper River

  1. Looks like you almost reached the top end of South Island. Looks like you had some nice weather while hiking. Great photos.

    From Michael T.

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