21 Mar. With the rain forecast to worsen later in the day, we went for an early start from the Tuatara Lodge Backpackers at 07:30. The Subway next door was open so Richard and I picked up a sub for a later lunch.
The trail out of town follows the Estuary Walkway for about 11km. Very light drizzle started but not really wetting, just damp. After that we were on the main road to Bluff for about 17km. This section has to be the least enjoyable of the whole trail, especially in wet weather with road spray from oncoming vehicles. There are plans to put in a new walking trail which avoids the road.
Just ahead of us on the road were Hannah and Ben from New England, USA, and a friend Nathaniel from Hawaii.
Richard’s sister Pip and Geoff met us at the outskirts of Bluff. The normal TA route around the west of Bluff hill was closed and the options were to walk over the hill or through the town. My heels were uncomfortable from the road walking, so I opted for the easy route through town. Richard, Josh, Nina and Pip went to the hill. I met Geoff at Bluff and we waited about 1:30 for the others. Unfortunately the Oyster Cafe at Stirling Point was closed as the staff were preparing for a private function, but Geoff’s car was warm and we watched the cyclists come in to the end of their Aotearoa route. Turns out that the hill group couldn’t find the mapped track from the top so they had to come back down and go through the town. All in heavy rain! Phew😊.
[Post trail note. During my lockdown period when I got home, I found out that the Oyster Cafe was the source of a Covid-19 virus cluster. The private function they were preparing for was a wedding party which resulted in over 85 infections. Lucky not to arrive a day later for a coffee!]
After the Stirling Point photo session, we all retired to the Eagle pub in town for a celebratory drink. Richard and I got a lift back to Invercargill with Pip and Geoff. After clean up, most of us gathered in the Speight’s Ale House to conclude the days celebration. The requirement to sign into the pub with personal contact details emphasised how the world has changed in recent weeks. Unfortunately Nathaniel couldn’t be served as he arrived in NZ on 15 March and has been caught by the 14 day self isolation requirement, which wasn’t in place when he arrived. Fortunately the US group has a flight home tomorrow.
One of the faster days with 33km in 7:30 hours. Flat with easy walking surfaces.
I will draft another post in the next few days with some reflections, but that’s the end of the trail journey as I fly back to Wellington via Christchurch. Thank you for joining me on the trail. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.
18 thoughts on “Invercargill to Bluff – Last Day Walking”
Congratulations Richard!! What a wonderful adventure, poignantly timed. I hope you have a safe and comfortable journey back to Wellington and hopefully we could catch up soon. Well done! What a huge achievement!
On Sun, 22 Mar 2020 at 08:44, The Interconnected View wrote:
> Richard posted: ” 21 Mar. With the rain forecast to worsen later in the > day, we went for an early start from the Tuatara Lodge Backpackers at > 07:30. The Subway next door was open so Richard and I got a sub for a later > lunch. The trail out of town follows the Estuary W” >
021 762 230
Sent from my mobile. Please excuse any suboptimal spelling and formatting.
Travels back to Wellington.
Must have a zoom meal out…
Well done Richard! so sorry for the lack of comments I didn’t think your last day would be my first! as you can imagine work has been nuts.
You have finished an amazing journey and Jenny will be so proud of you!
Congratulations Richard! I’m going to miss your posts and awesome photos! Welcome to our Brave New World!
Well Done Richard and thank you for all the blog posts – I have really enjoyed them! Hope to see you soon back in Wellington (from an appropriate distance!).
Congratulations Richard! I have really enjoyed following your journey. Very inspiring.
What an amazing expedition, with meticulous planning – I loved all the technical detail.
Have a safe trip back home.
With all best wishes from Stef & Derek
Congratulations Richard! I have really enjoyed following your journey.
Congratulations Richard, an amazing adventure.
I’ve enjoyed following your journey.. You’re coming back to a rather changed world. I suspect you might prefer being on the trail. Safe flight back to Wellie
Well done!! It has been great walking with you through these blogs
It has been an amazing adventure and a great tribute
Congratulations on your achievement. I am so proud of my strong, resilient, determined and amazing brother! I know Jenny was with you every step of the way and must be so proud. You have three wonderful children who will be glad to have you back safe and sound. Our wonderful Mum and Dad would have loved to have followed your journey and we have them to thank for so much and how they helped us to become who we are.
I will miss your blogs and the tour of beautiful New Zealand.
Love you very much.
I hope you’ve had an amazing experience and it sounds like you’ve had some lovely memories along the way. Good job and congratulations.
Hope you have a trouble free journey home. Keep in touch.
Congratulations Dad! I’m so proud of you and inspired by your determination, resilience and sense of adventure. Qualities you’ve always had but are shown particularly by this journey. Sorry that it was such a wet ending for you. Glad that you’ll be home shortly, although given the current circumstances you might have been safer staying in the trail! X
Congratulations and well done Richard! Absolutely enjoyed your trail notes and thanks for sharing them with us. Excellent timing in dodging a bullet with DOC hut and track closures. North Island now??!! Have a safe journey home.
How very fortunate I have been with timings. Getting home this afternoon. Lots of other things to do before considering North Island. 😊