27 Feb. Jenny’s birthday, and her roses at home bloomed today! In Arrowtown it was a fine day to take it easy with a town and country walk.
Diego, Dave and Baxter were taking a rest day at the camp ground, so they weren’t striking camp like me. In the camp ground kitchen I met another TA walker, Lisa, and her mum Gloria who had joined her for recent sections of the trail. I met Lisa briefly in Hanmer Springs. It is amazing how a connected community builds around the trail.
First stop after leaving the camp ground was the Postmaster cafe in Arrowtown for a full breakfast. Continuing through the centre of Arrowtown, the trail takes roadside local tracks through Millbrook Resort Golf course where the NZ Open had just started. With Arthur’s Pass Coast to Coast and this, I seem to he hitting national sporting events. Good thing accommodation has been booked for me by Mark who lives in Queenstown. Unfortunately he was away on a business trip this week, so we didn’t meet up. But many thanks again Mark.
On down through new housing estates to Lake Hayes, following the lakeside track along its length. From there the trail takes roads into Queenstown, so I caught the 14:02 bus from the centre of the new, Lake Hayes Estate. It had a nice cafe for a Cesar salad lunch beforehand. Taking every eating opportunity! So that was 13km walking in 3:30 hours.
On arrival in Queenstown, I said “hello” to Bex and the DOC visitor centre team. Then on to Icebreaker shop to see if they really do honour their lifetime warranty on socks as my thin base layer socks had developed big holes. They do, but socks have to be clean and mine were nowhere near that state! Diego happened to be in the shop at the same time (so many coincidences) so we arranged to meet later. He had travelled a similar way and walked part of the way without his pack and caught a bus. Arrowtown is served by a half hourly bus service to Queenstown, so staying in Arrowtown isn’t a problem. I checked in with Erin at the Bella Vista Motel, got the laundry cycle going and showered. Then back to Icebreaker and out with a new pair of socks.
After getting some more dehy dinners for the trail from Macpac, I meet up with Diego and we found a pizza bar. Halfway through a shared 20” pizza, Alex, Sang and Amelinn (from Sweden) also wandered in (another coincidence) so joined our table. Amelinn is recovering from a very deep wound (down to the bone) on her calf caused by a falling rock on the trail. She had to activate her Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). That was the rescue helicopter response I saw while at Kiwi Hut with the high river levels. A number of infections and hospital visits have delayed her recovery, but she is hoping to get back on the trail soon.
After pizza, we enjoyed a gelato on the Queenstown waterfront, watching the sun go down. Diego did well to devour a 3-scoop cone before it melted.