After the Cook Strait, the trail is easy through Queen Charlotte, then challenges increase with the Richmond Range and Nelson Lakes with huge, exposed climbs.
After a very early ferry to Picton, the trail picks up on the glorious – and easy – Queen Charlotte Track.
It’s an easy super-highway above turquoise inlets. Blissful stumbles on a stealth campsite at a lookout.
After Iwituaroa Reserve and road walk to Havelock for mussels, Blissful stays with trail angels.
It’s easy road walk to the emerald pools of the Pelorus River and sandfly hell.
It’s a steep ascent to the Totara Saddle through a magical “Hobbit Haunt” of beech forest.
A brilliant day in Nelson with new friends from Minnesota who found me on MPR.
Huge forested hills seem to grow out of turquoise water in a series of golden sand inlets and bays.
Blissful heads steeply up to the ridge with a mountain carpet for miles and magical beech forests.
Enjoying the view after a steep climb, there is yet another mountain to climb on eroded scree.
It’s steep up to Purple Top then steep back down to the Wairoa River with sidling and crossings.
The landscape changes abruptly in the dry Red Hills, with rocks in bright green and red.
The Maitland track passes through an otherworldly beech forest, up and over to St. Arnaud for pizza.