Day before Day 1
I had an early start leaving Palmerston North Airport at 6.45am. My daughter and her hubby were on the same first leg flight to Christchurch as they were heading to Dunedin for a holiday. Then I was on my own. I watched some Coronation Street while I waited for my next flight feeling a bit sad to leave this TV series behind for 3 months showing that I am definitely in need of an adventure.
I headed out of the airport with my pack on my back ready for a short 4km walk into the city and my hostel. There I met my first couple of NOBO Te Araroa walkers so we chatted the way into town. Kiwis, Vaughn and Eliza.
Last time I walked Te Araora people were known by their nationality; The Frenchies, the young German Girls, the Aussie guy, the Dutch girl, the Belgium and The Very Tidy Germans etc. This year I am expecting that most of us will be Kiwis so we will need to find other ways of differentiating us. I wonder what they will call me?
New Year’s Eve in Invercargill. I cooked an early dinner with food from the “Free Food Box” and headed into town to an Irish Bar for 7pm New Years drink on my own.
Only oldies eating dinner at this time of night so no sign of a rip roaring party at all.
I remember coming into this pub with Garry in about 2002. We were freezing cold and soaked to the skin having riden about 100km in pouring rain on our tandem bike. We hung our wet clothes in front of the fire and had hot soup to warm us up. Those were the days.
DAY 1 – 1 Jan 2022
The shuttle picked me up for a 30 minute drive out to Bluff. It would take me 9 hours to walk the 35km back. Along the coast first and finishing through a sewage treatment plant and a bird sanctuary.
I played leap frog with Vaughan and Eliza all day, having a few spells walking with them which alleviated the boredom a bit.
I really can’t complain about the day at all. The sun was hot but there was a nice breeze, it was flat all the way and there is a new a separate walk/ bike track rather than walking on the shoulder of a very busy road. It was also New Years Day, a holiday, so much less traffic than normal. Thanks Southland Te Araroa, good job.
I arrived back in town at 6pm so stopped at a bar for a beer and a meal before heading to my hostel for a shower and bed.