I walked out along a gravel road through sheep farms for 6km to reach Sate Hughway 94 at 9am. The second car to come along reacted to my thumb 👍 and gave me an enjoyable ride into Te Anau.
They were a young SriLankan couple who were working very hard to make a life in New Zealand. He was milking cows and she was working as a caregiver, even though they are both very qualified people. The long hours and shift work means they have very little time together so I was privileged to share the ride with them. The woman was very interested in Te Araroa, wishing she could be doing that instead of working. I understand that!
Te Anau is the gateway to some of our best Great Walks and scenery and pre covid19 was a very busy tourist town. But now it us very quiet, sadly quiet. The streets used to bustling with tourists and campervans and beds were hard to find.
This time I can walk down the main street without passing a soul, restaurants and hotels are boarded up and it makes me quite upset for the local business owners. I had an 8 bed bunk room to myself at the Top 10 Holiday Park.
I cooked my dinner in the main kitchen area and got chatting with a couple who were on a trip away from Auckland. Molly had worked in the Mental Health area at Palmerston North Hospital at the same time I had so we went back down memory lane together.
Then along comes the wife of Dennis who I had shared a hut with a couple of nights ago. She is driving the campervan around the South Island meeting up with Dennis and Barry when they come out of the wilderness. From New Plymouth, she recognized me from having worked in the Kiwi Outdoors shop which was one of my favorite shops that took quite a few dollars from me.
I posted some of my blogs, did some much needed laundry and scrubbed my very smell body and went shopping for the next 5 days of food which will get me to Queenstown.
I have made a few changes to my food for this section. Crackers with hummus and cucumber for lunches should be a nice change. The best food value for money is a $2.60 bag of dates which are really nutritious and sweet treats to keep me going in the afternoons.
I added a couple of Steinlargers and a frozen Fish Pie and coleslaw for my dinner.
I am enjoying another half rest day today, Thursday 13th. This afternoon I will hitch out to Mavora Lakes campsite instead of a 48km road walk. There is another option off the road for about half of the distance but the track is pretty rugged so I am giving it a miss.