Mon 9th May – Tekapo to Tekapo Powerstation, 43km, 8 ½ hrs
I had a 5am wake up, due to my husband and I staying in Geraldine with his Aunt Sally and husband Dene. Dene had offered to transport us for the next two days so Graeme could walk with me and then I didn’t have to walk alone. We had an hour and a half drive and arrived in Tekapo as it was still dark.
We started walking anyhow with a torch and went off the side of the road whenever a car came along. It was actually nice walking in the dark and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise that went on for an hour. It was a treat to have a beautiful sky with mountains in the back drop.
We reached Braemar Road and knew we had to follow this for 22km. Not the most encouraging sight to see a long gravel road stretch out in front of us. We had two Army trucks go by and we avoided the dust. This road we were walking is by land where the Lake Tekapo Military Camp practise. We didn’t see any action though, just the danger signs.
We walked by a cart and then around the corner and saw some horses. My plan was to put them together and do the rest of the day like that. No point cheating now though.
We had mountains in front of us covered in rain clouds but we were having a dry day. After 13km we came to Telephone hut which is the cutest hut ever. It has two bunks, a fireplace and not much else as there wasn’t the room. I would have loved to stay there but instead I filled in my last hut book for my walk and we carried on.
We had a rise to climb and then got our first glance of Lake Pukaki so stopped for morning tea. We continued on the wriggly, gravel road that took us in all directions. We had some spits of rain but they didn’t amount to anything. It is amazing how great the weather has been to me for this last stint done in May. Usually, the weather has packed up by this time of year.
After what felt like a very long time, we reached the junction where we had agreed to met Dene for lunch. It was great to sit and lie down for a short break. Egg sandwiches were a nice treat too.
Graeme and I, were now heading down Hayman Road on the long home stretch. We had decided to put in a big day today to make tomorrow shorter, due to needing to travel further. Graeme hasn’t done a marathon before so today was his lucky day. I hope he is talking to me after this.
We had some cyclist go by and their speed wasn’t much faster than ours. I hope they enjoyed their ride as they seemed to be struggling. The trees were fantastic Autumn colours and Lake Pukaki is a beautiful milky blue from snow melt.
All of this was a good distraction from the long day walking. Our legs from the hips down were sore. We just kept on walking, walking, walking.
We came to a sign saying “Aussie Rock” and we wondered what the heck it was talking about till we look up on the hill to a rock that is in the shape of Australia. It did help amuse us for 30 seconds.
We were having some gusty wind but then it seemed to die away as the road curved away from the lake. We were really wanting to be finished and coming into the last stretch we saw the large pipes and the Powerstation and then the car with Dene inside snoozing. It was great to be finished and so nice to sit down.
It takes a lot for your legs to walk 43km and it is also a mental game to keep going, when all you would rather do is lie down. I’m proud how well Graeme handled the walking today. I moaned heaps and he just kept on going. It was great to have his company and support. He did say, he can’t believe I have been doing this everyday though.
Tuesday 10th May – Tekapo Powerstation to Twizel, 23km, 4 ½ hrs
Up at 5am again, far out! Dene drove us back to the Tekapo Powerstation and Graeme and I had a tarseal road walk for 5km. We started as it was just light but there was thick fog so we were careful with the small amount of traffic going by. It also meant we couldn’t really enjoy the beauty of Lake Pukaki, as we couldn’t see it.
We headed off road, onto the Alps to Ocean Cycle trail which meandered beside the lake. It was good to be away from the road. There were reserves along the way with campervans parked up enjoying holiday time.
We came to a Dam that had beautiful stones and the lake looked beautiful. We then turned off and walked through an area with Pine Trees. I commented how boring this scenery was but that was before I knew what was next – a great big void of nothingness! For 8km we walked a barren flat area with nothing to look at. The fog made it eerie and the track had small stones that were hard to walk on. We were getting tired and could feel our legs from yesterday’s mission.
Finally, we came into the outskirts of Twizel and spotted two trout in the Twizel River and I posed by the Twizel sign for a photo. It was only 12pm and we were finishing. Not just finishing today but finishing my whole walk of New Zealand.
It was a pretty happy moment to be finally done. I felt huge relief as this walk has gone on longer than I thought it would.
I feel proud that I can now say “I have walked the length of New Zealand”.
To celebrate we had pies at Fairlie Bakehouse (I definitely recommend this!) and when we travelled back to Geraldine, Sally had set up a large congratulations poster and had high tea and wine ready. Now it is time to celebrate!