From Riverton we walked along the long sandy beach all the way to the outskirts of Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. The walking was quick and easy, although high tide was in the middle of the day, forcing us up into the sand dunes briefly.
After a night in Otautau, we hitched back to the trail. It’s our final climb on the Te Araroa – the very last one after walking the whole South Island! We quickly reached Bald Hill with views of the sea and Stewart Island (New Zealand’s third largest) far in the distance. And there’s Bluff – the end of the trail
Queenstown was an exciting place for a break from hiking but I was happy to get back on the trail. Less shopping, more walking.
From the gold mining ruins of Macetown, we walked down to Arrowtown. Unlike Macetown, Arrowtown is a happening place, bustling with tourists. It has that somewhat tacky but fun feel of an old west gold town re-creation, not unlike Ballarat (Australia), Tombstone (Arizona), or Dawson City (Yukon).
After enjoying Wanaka with Alison and Brian, we set out on the final section of mountainous walking on the Te Araroa.
The walk from Lake Hawea to Wanaka is along a pleasant cycle track. We saw many people out for fun rides and jogging and lots of happy dogs.
We had a wonderful break at the Lake Ohau Lodge. All rested up, we were ready to hit the trail again. We began by following the A2O (Alps to Ocean) cycling track for a few miles. This is a continuation of the same cycling route we rode from Lake Tekapo to Ohau a few days earlier.
It was a beautiful morning walking down through wavy golden grass to the sparkling turquoise Lake Tekapo.
We’ve made it to the highest point on the Te Araroa trail! After Wayne shuttled us around the Rangitata River, we rejoined the trail with some wisps of rain cloud still in the air.