After a good sleep I headed off to Lake Ohau. The track is mostly bike trail (Alps 2 Ocean) and road walking so 33 km should take me about 9 hours.
At the 4.9km marking stopped for a coffee and a salmon and tomato pie at The Salmon Farm and Cafe. Was this a 2nd breakfast or an early first lunch? Eating 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day takes quite an effort.
There is a freedom camping area alongside the salmon farm filled with large campervans and fifth wheelers. The waitress told me that it was mostly retirees camped up here for long periods so they can fish. I suppose they are looking for the ones that got away and the strays. That should be easy fishing, I think.
My pie was yummy and I savoured the coffee as it would be my last for about 5 days. There was some grey clouds approaching so I pulled my raincoat out of my pack ready if I needed it.
The rest if the day was uneventful really. The trail went along more hydro canals and Lake Ruataniwha and on to Lake Ohau. 30km in 8 hours so I had been moving fast.
I didn’t meet any TA walkers as most had biked from Lake Tekspo all the way to Ohau. However quite a few cyclists whizzed by me, most aged over 50 and riding e-bikes. Our country is littered with bike trails just waiting for you to get out and ride. The e-bikes mean just about anyone can have a go and get out to see our wonderful country.
There was a bit of drizzle and it was overcast so I wore my raincoat all day. This is the first time it has been cool enough to do that. I was pleased to have an overcast day as there was no shade to be found.
The final 8 km was alongside the lake and I could see the end point way in the distance not seeming to get any closer as I walked on. When I finally arrived at the Middleton campground on the lake edge it was 5 pm and my feet were tired. 33 km is a long walk for them, especially on hard flat ground.
I couldn’t find any other hikers tents so wandered out to the road and walked up to the Lake Ohau village. Then a car pulled up with a couple of gorgeous French guys on board who asked if I wanted a lift. How could I resist? I knew there was a posh lodge 5km up the road so made a quick decision to get a lift that far with them.
Arriving at Lake Ohau Lodge I had the option of either the last room at the lodge for $140 or a tent site for $18. I decided very quickly that this girl deserved a bit of luxury before the next 5 days stretch away from civilization. The room won.
As I entered the room I was in awe of how clean and white everything was making me very aware of how dirty I was. So I took my dirty, smelly pack and body carefully into the huge bathroom, making sure that I didn’t touch any walls or surfaces. I dropped my pack and stripped off checking out my much trimmer body in the mirror. Was that really me? Then I had a long hot shower, rubbing off the dirt, sweat and grime with a thick white face cloth and a perfumed soap, shampoo and conditioners. There was as a bath mat and a big fluffy white towel to top off my luxury. OMG 10 star.
These are things we all take for granted at home but out here on Te Araroa they are real treats not to be forgotten.
I couldn’t get a full meal as the restaurant was fully booked but I could have a plate of nachos so I ordered them along with a well deserved beer ( just for the calories). I got chatting, as I do, with 2 couples who were e-biking the Alps 2 Ocean trail. At first they were a bit emabarrased about using the e-bikes but I expressed my opinion about how good they are for making cycling available to all size bottoms. I had an enjoyable evening with them and nearly managed to eat all the nachos as well as a 2nd pint. I went to bed happy.