This is a section of the Te Araroa I was really looking forward to. Over Winter we made the journey between Wanaka and Queenstown countless times, it takes about an hour in the van and took us 5 days to walk!
When it came to actually leaving Wanaka however, I really did not want to go! Alex and Stefan had to practically drag me away from the hipster cafés, the beautiful pointless shops and the lovely Katie!
Once we got going it was easy to get back in to the swing of things, with the most amazing walk along the lake edge. Another “hot as balls” day to quote Stefan. We’ve definitely found Summer now and walking in the heat is bloody tough! A swim in the lake made things all the more enjoyable.
In to the Motatapu Range we went, owned by the notorious Shania Twain non the less! This of course called for numerous renditions of Man I Feel Like a Woman as we hiked.
Francois had shown us an elevation chart before we set off so we knew we had some mountains to conquer on this section. Luckily we had some time to kill so walked to Fern Burn hut the first day, Highland Creek hut the second day and then a big day over to Macetown on the third day.
I really loved these mountains! We followed incredible ridge lines over open high country terrain. The hot, dry Otago Summer had made all the tussocks and grasses great shades of greens and yellows – so many photo opportunities! The huts were all modern, clean and set in great spots along the mountain ranges – thanks Shania!
The last section in to Macetown was straight down the middle of the Arrow River which was a refreshing welcome at the end of a very hot day.
From Macetown we walked over to Arrowtown via the Big Hill track. The trail was utterly crap and non existent at the start of our day which was frustrating. How could we go from following a perfect trail for three days for it to suddenly disappear and turn in to bush whacking through gorse and hawthorn?! Luckily this only lasted a few km before we were back on a normal trail and contouring down in to Arrowtown for a galette at Bonjour the French cafe!
The final day of walking from Arrowtown to Queenstown was bit of a grab bag of weird experiences! First we strolled through the heavily manicured lawns of the Millbrook Resort and along some country lanes. Then over the Shotover River, passing the pound, sewage works, portaloo depot and local tip! That over we followed the Frankton walkway for 8km all the way in to Queenstown, stopping to jump in the lake of course!
Now for a rest day with our marvellous friends Helen and Mark – thanks for putting us up with a place to stay 🙂