20 Mar. Today we had to wait for the tide. The route along Oreti Beach to Invercargill has a small estuary about mid way which is difficult to cross at high tide, which today was about 11:00. So Richard, Josh, Nina and I met at the Postmaster Bakery just after 10:00, where Richard and I preloaded with a second breakfast.
We followed the river down to the beach. Initial going was slow as we were forced to walk in the soft sand at the top of the beach due to the high tide. As the receding tide exposed the harder sand, the going became easier. Weather was cloudy and windy, but dry. Comfortable walking.
We arrived at the estuary at 14:05, had a lunch stop and then crossed. The tide has gone out sufficient to make it ankle deep. I managed to cross and keep dry boots. The others went for a barefoot paddle, so kept dry shoes. Allison caught up with us and passed us. She had walked from Colac Bay.
Richard’s sister Pip and brother-in-law Geoff were on the other side. Geoff had just completed the Aotearoa North to South 3000 km cycle challenge within the 30 days allowed. They were in walker-support mode and had driven along the beach with hot drinks and food. Much appreciated. They took some of our gear to the backpacker accommodation, so lightened our loads for the end of the day.
From there it was another 8km to the end of the beach, 24 km of beach overall, and then another 8km of road pavement into central Invercargill and the Tuatara Backpackers Lodge.
Overall the day was 35km in 8:45 hours. Dinner was bangers and mash in the Speights Ale House, next door to the backpackers.
Last day tomorrow with another walk 30+ km much of it on road. Rain forecast for the day.