8th December, Te Araroa 68 day
Goodbye North Island hello South Island
Picton 1703km to Ship Cove 1715km (Queen Charlotte Sound track)
Boarding the ferry at 1:30am after waiting in the terminal for over three hour wasn’t very exciting. They took my walking sticks off me and put them in the luggage cart saying that they were dangerous weapons. I didn’t mention anything about the knives and gas canister for my cooker I carried in my backpack as I walked on board.
There were cabins available but at forty dollars per person and the ferry trip taking only three hours, it wasn’t really worth it, there wasn’t a lot of people on board as there were only about five others in the canteen, TV room and lounge area.
Arrived into Picton port at about 6 o’clock with nothing open and under a cloud of drizzle. The ferry bus service took us to the terminal where we spent an hour sitting around doing nothing then walked into town for some breakfast.
On the ferry from Wellington just arriving into Picton
while at the Water taxi office, I took the opportunity to use their scales to weigh our backpacks and with five days’ worth of food for two people, tent, cooking gear and other bits, mine weighed 21kgs whereas Eunhwa’s was 12kg. Eunhwa wasn’t carrying much just her sleeping bag, first Aid kit, clothes, an Apple tablet and other small items. After seeing others on the track with their equipment being so light, It makes me think that if I did this kind of walk again, I’d defiantly look at ways of getting my base weight much lower. Currently may base weight is 12.5kg whereas others on the trail I have meet are as low as 5.5kgs.
Coming into Picton on the Ferry
The boat trip itself to the trail head was smooth, visibility was poor due to the drizzle and rain but the captain of the boat made it entertaining with his running commentary of the history, pointing out wild life and interesting facts about building and living in the area.
The water taxi took us to Ship Cove, our next starting point and on arrival it was still raining. The rain wasn’t heavy so a bad decision on my behalf was not to put on the weather gear and within a couple of hours, both of us were socked through and starting to feel the cold set in. For that day there wasn’t much in the way of views with white clouds and sheets of rain that come down on us while we pushed forward with our heads down.
Eunhwa had enough, it was at this point that she wanted to jump on the closest ferry or water taxi and head back to Christchurch. Getting a ferry at 4 in the afternoon was going to be a challenge, there was one available but we didn’t make up our minds quick enough and it disappeared as quick as it arrived into this small jetty. We ended up booking in for the night at Furneaux Lodge which was expensive at 150 dollars but given the conditions, it was well worth it. The original price was 350 dollars which was way too expensive and after the reception lady seeing Eunhwa teeth chatting away, they offered us another cabin that was cheaper.
With everything laid out trying to dry, we relaxed with a nice coffee and a warm room for the night. Eunhwa had made up her mind and call it quits and to no longer continue the Te Araroa.