Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Changing of the islands, NZ north to south

Te Araroa trail, skipping the swimming section!
I'm now in Picton (day 88) and will stay again tonight. Sandra and I caught the 6pm ferry arrived in Picton at 9pm. It was fun to approach the South Island with a setting sun and then to disappear into a long darkening inlet and into full night by the time we arrived.

dbBrad on the Te Araroa trail, freestyle!

The boat was big and we were the first ones on somehow even though we may have been the last ones to the terminal. Such, we had the best seats in the house and our bags were on top and were the first ones out of the terminal on the south island.

dbBrad and Sandra cross from the north island to the south island, NZ
And there to greet us were many small cute little vans driven by proprietors of local hostels. We found one called Atlantis run by an amazingly energetic woman originally from upstate New York. Her hostel is in a large building that used to be a city building, a dive shop and then a museum. Now it is a hostel. A very interesting building, to say the least.

View from picton of the ferry looking out towards Queen Charlotte sound.
Today (day 89) is very rainy so we will leave instead tomorrow morning on an 8am boat to Ships Cove. The track is 77km and we are allowing 4 days to leisurely complete the journey.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 88-97

Even the boat has little orange markers leading the way along the Te Araroa trail!
The South Island approaches
Daqy 88 (5k) No tramping per se, but a lot of steps to get out of Wellington, down to the bus, over to the train station and down to the ferry dock.

dbBrad in Cook Strait, halfway between North and South Islands along the Te Araroa Trail
Day 89 A rainy day around Picton preparing for the Queen Charolette track with Sandra

Approaching the South Island of New Zealand
Day 90 (20k) Departed Picton on an hour plus ferry ride to reach Captain Cook Monument on the tip of a penninsula which defines Queen Charlotte Sound. Sandra, my temporary hiking companion, and I hiked over a hill and around Endeavour Inlet to Madsens Camp. Run by Tony Madsen, an awsome laid back guy who shared his wonderful life with us for a day.

dbBrad and the Pacific as viewed from Cook Strait, along the Te Araroa trail

A beautiful sunset in New Zealand as we approach Marlboro Sounds, NZ, South Island
Day 91 (zero k) Today the sun was out and we slept in a bit, waking up to Madsens Camp and the sounds of birds, a light breeze, warmth and the smell of the ocean and a cozy little campground all to ourselves. We stayed and Tony (Madsens Camp owner) spoiled us with smoked muscles we picked out of the water, some home made goods and even a row boat for us to play in.

Ferry approaching Picton, NZ
If you're hiking the Queen Charolotte track along the Te Araroa trail at the north end of New Zealand's south island, go to Camp Madsens, best camping and host along that track. According to, not only to dbBrad, but to previous Te Araroa trampers and experts Niki and Cookie

And the next day, on a smaller ferry and off to the beginning of the Queen Charlotte track.
Day 92 (17.8k) The trail, though nice lacked, compared to the comfort of Camp Madsens, but we plugged along to Cove Shelter where it was rainy but at least we had the shelter to ourselves and the cheeky Wica bird who kept trying to steal everything.

Day 93

dbBrad and Sandra left behind on the dock at Cook Monument, the very beginning of the Te Araroa on the South Island.

Marlboro Sounds and native bush.

Somewhere along the Te Araroa trail, New Zealand, South Island.

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Eating fresh mussels at Camp Madsens, the best camping along the Te Araroa trail

While Sandra and I were hanging out at Camp Madsens, along came Philip and Madelin. What a pleasant surprise!

Row, row, row your boat, compliments of Tony, the best host ever at Camp Madsens

Camp Madsens along the Queen Charlotte track, a great place and a wonderful host

Sandra Belker

New Zealand, South Island, as viewed from the Te Araroa trail

This picture turned out pretty good, making this semi-obnoxious sign (with incorrect distances) in my view, look better than it really does.

dbBrad and dbSandra on a cool morning.

Water, forest and steep hills, what more could you expect from a picture along the Te Araroa trail?

Sandra was a good sport, despite sand-fly allergies, blisters and a sprained ankle.

And we made it to the end of the Queen Charlotte track, Yippie!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 72-87 Tararaus to Wellington

dbBrad just can't help examining  an odd piece of metal.

dBrad furniture, even available on the Te Ararao trail.

dbBrad Flore andLludo at Barnacle, Paraparaumu
Back on the beach again, Te Araroa 2012, Wellington district

dbBoat on beach with Kapiti island in the background

dbBrad on beach with Kapiti island in background, Te Araroa trail

Te Ararao trail markers look good on blue too, especially near the ocean.

dbBrad Ludo and Flore take lunch at a little town along the south west coast of  new zealand along the Te Araroa trail

Te Ataroa trail, Kapiti island

Flore and Ludo brighten the Te Araroa trail

Tent like roof kinda looks like a hat on top of dbBrads mohawk!

Along the Te Araroa trail, you will meet some very interesting kiwi folk

Stairs ascending out of elsden towards wellington along the te araroa trail
A perfect portion of the Te Araroa trail with Kapiti island in backgroiund

Te Araroa trail marker just north of Wellington

This is the Wellington gaurd cow, No Bull!!!

In the hills above Wellington,

The GoPro portable action camera has nothing on the LudoCam!

Markers along the Te Araroa trail have been sparse, however this pole nearing Wellington seems to be well marked.

Flore Ludo and dbBrad skipping another section of Tar a Road on the Te Araroa trail

Ludo and Flore on the Te Ararao trail

Approaching Wellington on the Te Araroa trail

dbBrad on the Te Araroa trail, very tired!!

Wellington, NZ

Flore and Ludo possing for a 'just married' photo in Wellington after compoleting half the Te Araroa trail, 2012