8 Mar. Checked out of the Bella Vista for the second time in two weeks at 07:20 to grey skies. The forecast rain wasn’t far away. 08:00 departure from Glenorchy Journeys in the centre of Queenstown with a short stop for coffee in Glenorchy at 08:50. From Glenorchy it was mainly a gravel track down the far side of the lake to the Greenstone car park.
On the shuttle were Frank and Maria from the Netherlands, Eley from Germany and Richard from Kerikeri, NZ, all TA walkers. Eley was making an extension to do the Caples track, but the rest of us were initially aiming for Greenstone Hut, 14km away, and checking how the rain developed. Richard is about 5 years younger than me and we had a similar pace so we walked and talked together for the day. He has a year’s leave from the Department of Corrections and has walked from the top of North Island.
While the rain threatened all day it didn’t fall, so after Frank, Maria, Richard and I had lunch in Greenstone Hut 13:00-14:00, we all pushed on to Taipo Hut, getting there at 17:20. Frank and Maria decided to camp nearby, but cooked in the hut. We were joined by Chewy from Czech Republic who did our day in 4 hours! and Yoan from France who was walking a local circuit, while on a cycle tour.
The trail was mainly through beech forest with a fairly good track making walking relatively easy. Gradients were gentle. The last 4 km was through tussock with small patches of bog, but not deep enough for wet boots. We covered 25 km in 7:30 hours with about 600m off climb.