The most thrilling part of the trail, the tramper passes by turquoise lakes, needs to negotiate dangerous river crossings, and cracks up to mystical Stag Pass.
It’s easy to Boyle Village and two men offer to stay together for the dangerous river crossings ahead.
The Harper Pass Track on flats and forest leads to a soak in a hot springs filled by waterfalls.
Harper Pass takes me down an eroded landslip to several tricky crossings of the Taramakau.
A long day of sidling and crossings is followed by a walk up rapids and rocks on the Deception River.
The remaining trail of roots, mud and stream crossings is through heavy mist.
I take a well-deserved zero day itching sandfly bites as the rain crashes down.
We call an SOS for an injured hiker and I learn a friend from day 1 also wiped out here.
It’s a hot and short walk along rocky riverbed that’s hard on the feet with multiple river crossings.
A couple gives me a ride around the impassable Rakaia river and become lifelong friends.
This section is magical on river-as-trail and over a saddle to a valley of giant clouds.
Running out of food, the local ranch owner gives me enough food to cross the Rangitata.
A side trip to Mount Sunday starts the day before a crossing the braided Rangitata and up the Two Thumbs.