Day 7 to Birchwood Station 7 Jan 22

28km day. I needed a hitch out to the start of the Island Bush Track but this took me over half an hour. I usually don’t wait long for a ride as a grey haired old lady seems to make nice family people want to get me off the road.

Otautau is only a small town an mostly tradies vehicles and Fonterra milk tankes passed by me. Neither woukd be allowed to pick up hitchhikers. But eventually I was picked up by a man who was escaping Hamilton and Covid-19 lockdowns effects by doing a road trip around the South Island.

The track was a bit hard to find as it is just a wee sign marked with a small rock tarn in the side of the highway which would only really be seen by a walker. My driver was happy to go back and forth until I spotted it.

I was on track at by 9.30am. I remembered this track from my SOBO as a good day.

I walked across farmland, then cut into some nice native beech bush. The track was a bit hard to find at places but I plodded on getting scratched and bashed around a bit. But I remembered having a similar experience last time ao i wasn’t worried.

A messy track but no mud so all is good

Soon I was out on a forestry tracks. As it was another hot day and I had 3.5 litres of water on board. That adds 3.5 kg to my pack that weghs about 9kg with food on board. Therefore it does feel heavy and that encourages me to drink.

Lunch stops are always enjoyed by my feet

I can get some speed up on these tracks which went through areas where the trees had been felled and ones where they were still majestically standing waiting for their final day.

Felled trees with Takitumu Range in background. I would cross that later

Then I had a hot 5km road walk passing though nice farmland giving me sheep and steers to talk to. Did you know that young cows are called steers because they steer at you? They run up to the fence and just stand and steer as if they had never seen such a thing before.

Long hot road

The Woodlaw Track was next. Te Araroa is mainly made up of some existing tracks and others made especially for us. They are usually connected by road walks. We are very grateful to the farmers and forestry owners who have allowed us to enjoy their properties.

Woodlaw track

The last part of the day was through Birchwood Station, a huge sheep and beef farm. I remembered that there was a huge climb on my SOBO so was pleased to be going North this time. I did stuff up and take a wrong farm track that meant I ended up with a big hill covered with thistles to climb back up to find the correct downhill. However I was enjoying my day. My feet were good and I have had no legs muscle pain at all.

That was the track I should not have followed.

About 5km from the end young Cam came along behind me and we finished the day together. From England, he arrived a couple of weeks before Covid-19 hit. He enjoyed his lockdown at a backpackers hostel in Queenstown which is where he met his girlfriend.

Noisy sheep

I enjoyed having some company even if he did get the directions wrong to the hut were were to stay at.

We tried to shortcut our way back and ended up in a paddock with more steers steering at us and a very slimey creek that we didn’t want to rusk crossing.

Birchwood Hut. Very comfortable stay

We were happy and weary arriving about 5.30pm. Okan had had a rest day there and had already gone on the shuttle to the Takitumu Tavern. The sign said they only do one pick up an evening but I rang and convinced them to drive out the 13km to pick the 2 of us up. There were 2 SOBO woman there who were not keen on joining us. So we had quick, much needed showers and we were soon at the pub for pizza and a couple of beers with Cam and Okan.

Home and in bed by 9.30. Beds not good sore back and bad sleep. 

The next day is across Mt Linton Station. One of the SOBOS had taken 9 and was not happy at all about the signage. I remembered feeling the same on my SOBO. It was one of the worst days on TA . So I went to sleep promising myself that I would start early and be very careful.

5 thoughts on “Day 7 to Birchwood Station 7 Jan 22

  • Go Karen!!! Remember shortcuts aren’t really shortcuts. Great that you have no leg pain…Bravo. Following your journey with excitement for you and interest for me.

  • I remember your SOBO post when you arrived at Birchwood station after walking across Mt Linton station and had one of Sarah’s home cooked dinners. Has she stopped doing these? I didn’t know about the shuttle to the pub, but the interior of this great hut has not changed! Sylvia

Let me know what you think and leave me some encouragement.