We finally started our hike from Bluff!
Many thanks to John and Sharon who provided us a wonderful breakfast and a ride from Invercargill to Bluff ?
When Sharon dropped us off at the very start from the Te Araroa we suddenly realized – after weeks of looking forward to this moment – that this is finally the beginning of our hiking adventure! I don’t really know what I expected but after being dropped off we took the obligationary picture of us in front of the Stirling Point sign and just started walking. It it hard to believe that it took us 5 days of travel time to get to this point. It felt really good to be finally on the trail. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favor. Pouring rain and heavy wind made it a rough start ☔
The first section of the trail follows the coast line through some bushes on a nice and rather wide gravel trail. Definitely easy hiking but the wind and rain still gave us a hard time to keep on walking straight forward. Due to a closure of the trail after about one hour of walking we had to take a retour uphill towards the town of Bluff. Hiking uphill was a little helped to heat up again ☺️ also, it was great to walk through some bigger bushes / trees that protected us from the wind and the rain.
Getting to the parking lot, we had a chat with a nice lady that offered us a ride to Invercargill. We weren’t sure if this is considered as cheating, especially as we have just done our first few meters on the trail… The woman still wanted to hike a little in the rain and we agreed that she will stop if she sees us on her way back to Invercargill. From now on we had to walk on the road – almost all the way to Invercargill. This is actually considered as the worst section of the trail. Well, the problem is that there is no real trail but only the highway. The wind and the rain were even worse when walking on the road. Passing cars and trucks didn’t make it better as they splashed up the water. Therefore, we decided that we will accept a ride to Invercargill if a person asked us but not put the thumb up for hitch hiking. We thought for us it is more about enjoying the trail and the journey instead of walking every bit of it no matter what.
And yay we were lucky! We didn’t see the lady anymore that we met earlier but another nice girl picked us up ?. She dropped us of at the point where the Te Araroa becomes a trail again and we continued our hike to Invercargill. Timo didn’t take his rain pants and as the wind became stronger the plastic bag he used instead almost blew away! We passed some cows that all kept standing with their buds facing the rain.
We were really happy when we finally reached Invercargill. Domino’s pizza has never been better!?? Instead of pitching our tent we decided to rather stay in a hostel and to dry ourselves as well as our clothes. We think there will be a lot more rainy days to come where we have to camp in the rain, at least we can skip that experience for now ?