This ended up being a really short day for us at just 20km but unfortunately it would’ve been too much to push on to the next campsite. There wasn’t a particularly good way to work the distance and still be in a good position so we just budgeted for an extra day and enjoyed the pies we got at the cafe.
By the time we woke in the morning (7am), the two bycyclists and one of the hikers were already up and away. It was just us and another American hiker left. We quickly decamped and made our way to the bakery for breakfast. Turns out all the cyclists had the same idea as they’d also just decamped to the bakery. After the usual egg and bacon pie, flat white, and muffin, we got on our way. The views were nice but it was an unfortunately similar day to some of our more boring days on the North island with about 50% road and 50% farm track.
We were only on main highway for the first few kms and then crossed the Pelorus river and followed that upstream on a small farm road.
With about 7km to go we crossed onto farm track. It was nothing spectacular and very much farm track to avoid walking on the road. The notes went on quite substantially about the amount of negotiation with the farmers to allow us to pass through their land but I’m not quite convinced it’s worth the effort. The farm is a break from the road but it takes longer and isn’t exactly that much better than road. It was fairly swampy and there were multiple unbridged stream crossings, and there farmers had even put up at least three electric fences that we had to cross. One of which Heather didn’t manage to do without getting a shock.
Confusingly the trail markers went right through what looked like a legitimate vegetable crop. By the looks of the size of the vegetables though they weren’t having any trouble growing even with us tramping all over them. We came out the other end of the farm track and popped into a well manicured forest that led to a swing bridge over which we found a swarm of tourists.
Apparently the river was popular for swimming and there was a cafe and campsite located right by. We went and checked into the campsite and thankfully it was a good bit further back from the road and blocked off from the major throng of tourists pulling in for a quick photo. Obviously we did head back to the cafe and indulged in a hearty portion of chips, smoothie, sausage roll, chocolate milk, coffee, and muffin with cream (mostly split between the two of us of course).
We’ve spent the afternoon and evening relaxing and reading. Unfortunately there are a lot of sandflies here so we can’t layout but we’ve now had our first shower on the South Island. There’s rain forecast for tomorrow so we’re waterproofing tonight to get ready to head into the bush tomorrow.