Rakiura I – NW-Circuit!

Deutsche Version:

Nach Wellington gings dann mit Michael, meinem australischen Kumpel nach Hastings, wo wir noch im Bus sitzend (hitch hiken hat zum ersten Mal nicht geklappt), noch nen working Hostel klarmachten und auch gleich fuer den naechsten Tag Arbeit zugesichert bekamen! Sprich wir sind jetzt seit Dienstag dieser Woche als Apfel pfluecker beschaeftigt, worauf ich ein andermal noch gesondert drauf eingehen werde. Wir machen soweit gutes Geld und morgen gehts weiter. Fuers WE haben wir Pause da die Aepfel noch zu gruen sind. Jedenfalls hab ich jetzt gleich mal die Chance genutzt und den ersten Beitrag zu Rakiura (Stewart Island) nachgereicht, natuerlich mit Bildern, die ich bereits in Wellington uploaden konnten. Ist sehr lang geworden, wollte eigentlich zwei Beitraege schaffen, aber das kommt dann noch mit der naechsten Arbeitspause, was ne Woche dauern kann. Regulaer haetten wir nur Sonntags frei. Wie auch immer, hier der Beitrag! Viel Spass beim lesen =).

Achja, da ich jetzt etwas mehr als nen halbes Jahr hier bin (am 7. April war Stichtag), wuerde ich, wenn moeglich, um ne Einschaetzung bitten. Was koennte ich bei den Beitraegen verbessern, oder was wuerdet ihr euch noch wuenschen, worauf sollte ich noch eingehen, was wollt ihr sehen etc. Nen kleines Feedback, am Besten in den Kommentaren waere klasse =). Bis demnaechst! Bilder wird es nach den Rakiura Beitragen auf jedenfall weniger geben, da ich schon fast an der Grenze meines Speicherplatzes kratze^^.

English Version:

Will follow! Probably next Sunday. I got finally some work and am now in Hastings on the North Island, for which I will be for the next 2 weeks at least. I hope to update the rest of the Rakiura articles pretty quick! Stay tuned, it’s worth it!

As I took my leave from Dianne, the very nice Hostel Owner from the Lazy Dolphins Lodge at Curio Bay, I hitch hiked to South Invercargill and got picked up by two Germans. From there on onward I got carried by the manager of the 4 square in Bluff, so he took me down there for the last 30 k’s =). Bluff itself is not really worth a sea, aside of the Hill there and the scenery, but it definitely experienced better days before. However, I checked into the ‚Bluff Lodge‘ in, a Hostel for 20 bucks a night in a dorm room. I would be off the next day anyway and take the ferry to Rakiura =).
For that I had to do some preparations, like buying food and cook some stuff beforehand, hence I needed money from Germany, for my cash ran already out again… Too bad that the Banks in Bluff cannot do international transactions if you’re not carrying a credit card^^. So I needed to hitch hike back to Invercargill (no buses between the two towns), which worked quite well.
I bought some cans (2 Baked beans, 2 Spaghetti, 2 Pineapple, 2 Peaches, 1 Tomato Sauce) and some Pasta, plus Rice, Chicken, Veges and other stuff to have enough supplies for the next 2 weeks off the grid. Even 12 eggs, which I would boil and carry than. After getting back to the Hostel, I cooked my stuff and filled it in two 2l boxes and one 1l Box. Should be enough for 5 to 6 serves. After preparing the rest and packing my backpack bedtime was there.

In the morning then, I took the ferry on bad weather. 75 Dollar one way (130 both, you can change the date back for free), for just one hour transfer… Pretty expensive, but the alternative would be taking a flight from Invercargill for a hundred Dollar one way. Would be probably worth more, but two expensive for my small wallet^^.
Landing on Rakiura my first destination was the DOC to book Huts and get some information. I decided to purchase the ‚Back country Hut Pass‘ for 92 Dollar, which enables me to enter all the Back country Huts for free, and even some of the Great Walk Huts after season ended (from May till October). Excluded are the alpine Huts, but I do not plan to stay in one of these anyway. This said I could use it even for the NW- and S-Circuit, which would be worth around 65 Dollar.
As I got to see the forecast for the next days, they promised me rain, a lot of rain, like all the next week, which was bad but not a hindrance to my plans. At least I expected it for 2/3 of my stay there. There was but only one thing left to do, that was to store some stuff I put out of my Backpack and my guitar as well. The DOC couldn’t provide space, large enough for my guitar, so I asked in a Hostel, the ‚Bunkers Backpackers‘ (the only BBH Hostel on Rakiura), and I didn’t even have to pay anything^^. Really nice and easy going =). Knowing my stuff in a safe place I finally set off to my personal quest with rainy moody weather conditions.
First I had to get to the start point of the great Walk (Rakiura Track), which leads me to the start point of the NW-Circuit around ‚Port Williams‘. 5 k’s + another 8 just to get to start point, but anyway, the way itself was quite nice, for it is maintained by the DOC. I set of around noon and arrived in Port Williams at 4 pm. Sweating through my clothes, seeing some deer on my way and even a cat, carrying my 23 kg Backpack – I yearned for a break. I wasn’t used to it anymore, after spending five consecutive weeks of basically doing nothing in Dunedin, my body just has to adapt to the hard loads again. After the break I did know that the ways are not ways anymore but more paths which are barely maintained, means basically stuff that lays on the trails is removed, but the ground itself can become really muddy, like sinking in knee deep. It’s not exaggerated, after leaving the trails of the Great Walk mud awaited me instantly, but not just a puddle of mud, but more the whole trail long, at least as far as I could see^^. Most of the time you can bypass it, but when you’re inexperienced with it, one always make mistakes or loses precious time. On the Hill tops the ground was more solid, hence walking there was a lot more easier and comfortable, though it got fast down to the next river or creek crossing again, right over steep descending onto natural ‚root steps‘ (pretty cool and pretty solid!). The map I bought at the DOC for the NW-Circuit was utterly useless in this environment, cause I couldn’t even navigate or locate myself in this thick, yet very beautiful and fairy tale like rain forest. There were countless creeks and rivers I crossed, but for that I couldn’t even know which one was which on the map. The track was supposed to take 3 hours (6 k’s) to the ‚Bungaree Hut‘. In the end it took me about 5 hours and a lot of panicking, for it got really dark and I had no torch. I was drenched, couldn’t locate myself, stuck in mud, stumbled through the forest and it got darker and darker till I couldn’t even see my hand anymore. But nevertheless I tried to think positive as much as I could, till I heard the ocean waves, which was a good sign, because I knew that the Hut stood at a bay. So with my remaining strengths I got on my 4 limbs (walking would be too dangerous, for I didn’t see anything), and stumbled out of the forest, down to the beach, where I saw a faint light from a candle in the distant! My heart made a loop and pure happiness engulfed my body and mind. From there on it was just another 15 minutes walk along the beach.
After reaching the Hut, the others there just got to bed, I lay down on a bench and relaxed my muscles, for the cramped and a lot during the trip there and enjoyed the benefits of a great heated Hut. After eating something, to get me up again, I walked straight to bed. I decided to stay another night there just for drying my clothes and get some rest myself.

The next day, I met a New Zealander Rory Hart, who did the Te Araroa Walk from Cape Rainga down to Bluff (3.000 km). He was a fellow geologist as well, but specified on glacier geology. We had a pretty nice talk. Later on a Tasmanian bloke (Craig) and another German (Rita) joined us.

For the photographs, please refer to the link in the German Version =).

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