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  • The Mavora Walkway

    Sothern Mavora panoramaI’ve lost track of the days as I travel around, and it turns out most post offices are closed on Sundays. So I get to spend an extra day in Te Anau.

    After mailing the main part of my food (I was not going to need 2 weeks of food for a 5 day hike) the next part of my journey was through the Mavora walkway to Queenstown.

    As I try to hitch a ride out of Te Anau, I worry about getting a ride all the way to the trailhead. It’s situated on a gravel road 40 km from the main road. The Kiwi hospitality delivers though, as I get a ride with a couple from Cromwell who drive me the whole way.

    If you remember the scene in Lord of the rings when Sam almost drowns (he’s running after Frodo in the boat), that is what the Mavora lakes looks like. Nice smooth gravel waterside with a thick beech forest just on the side.

    Mavora lakeshoreAfter spending a night by the Southern Mavora lake I follow the track along the northern lakeshore. It turns out the track is closed for lambing however. Not the whole of it. But the access down to Lake Wakatipu on the other end is closed.

    I decide to walk as far as I’m allowed anyway, I miss being among mountains. I also get stuck in a book by Brandon Sanderson and spend an extra day just reading in one of the huts.

    On my way back I find a nice hill overlooking the lake. I spend several hours reading there, leaning against my backpack. When some raindrops finally takes my attention away from the book I hurry down to the campsite to pitch my tent.

    My last evening is spent entirely inside the tent, as the sky opens up and pours down unimaginable amounts of rain.

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  • Invercargill to Riverton

    A walk of futility and inexperience

    My travels along Te Araora started unexpectedly harsh, mostly because of myself.

    The southernmost part of the trail is from Bluff to Invercargill, it is 34 km long. Unfortunately 16 of those kilometers is state highway (the Te Araora trust is working on completing a more suitable trail along the shore).

    As it turns out, Bluff isn’t even the southernmost point of South Island. It is in fact Waipapa point, my roommate informed me when I arrived in Invercargill.

    After walking back from Bluff (I did Bluff-Invercargill as a dayhike), the real hiking started the next day. Again though, 10 km along a road, until I reached Oreti beach.

    Luckily, low tide was during mid-day, and walking on the still-wet-sand was easy. So was driving, as a lot of people would “walk” their dogs on the beach while driving along in their car.


    Carrying my backpack was not however.

    My ego had told me to buy as much as possible while having access to cheap supermarkets in Invercargill. Carrying supplies for over two weeks on your own is no light feat. Especially when you have done nothing but dayhikes for the last year.

    Going 22 km the first day with said backpack was also not the best idea. I was almost collapsing before I could pitch my tent in the sand-dunes. And had a bit of a crisis concerning the whole Te Araora.

    After a nights rest and some food in my tummy, my thoughts cleared a bit.

    “What the hell was I doing?” Walking 26 km along a boring roadside? That’s not me. When did I start trying to walk every single meter of Te Araora?

    Somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten why I’m doing the Te Araora. To experience the awesomeness of New Zealand and to be in nature as much as possible.

    Arriving in Riverton the next day I had decided to hitchhike up to Te Anau. Most of the track inbetween Riverton and Te Anau is closed during the lambing season anyway, which made the decision to skip a week of the track easier.

    Now to see if I can dust all that sand from Oreti beach out of my tent. I had forgotten why I avoid camping at sandy beaches…

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  • Winter is almost over, so I decided to walk through a country


    So, I’m in New Zealand for the time being. I have a couple of months until the ski season starts on the northern hemisphere. What do you think I should do during those months?

    My plan is Te Araora, and walk through the entire country.

    The Te Araora is a trail that stretches from Cape Reigna in the north to the Bluff in the south. In other words, it’s a trail traversing the whole country.

    Of course, walking through a country sounds cool to me (it hopefully does to you too). But that is not the only reason to why I decided to do this. Nor is it to try and find myself (this seems to be a reoccurring theme among some travelers).

    Hiking a trail like this for me is about choice. There’s just too much to do in one country, the amount of options can sometimes be overwhelming. But on a longer trail you won’t have to worry about where to go next. You just walk another 25 of those 3000 km.

    Of course, this will be a shitty and muddy experience. I have no delusion about life being perfect all the time. But it will also be so much more rewarding when you have really good days. Because you can say that it’s something you’ve achieved yourself. Not something you’ve bought with money.

    If anyone asks why I’m doing this, the easy answer is still: “Because it is cool.”