Last Sunday I went by bus from Christchurch to Picton, where I spent the rest of the day preparing for the Queen Charlotte Track and relaxing at The Villa. This is one of the best hostels I stayed at in NZ, it has a very cosy atmosphere, all the facilities and a spa (Dutch: “bubbelbad”)! So I was very happy to have booked it as well for Wednesday night.
On Monday I started the Queen Charlotte Track, a 71 km walkway in the Queen Charlotte Sound. FYI: a fiord is a glaciated valley that has been flooded by the sea after the glacier’s retreat, whereas a sound is a river valley flooded by the sea following a rise in sea levels or depression of the land, or a combination of both. Anyway, the first day I hiked about 28 km in 6 hours from Ship Cove to Camp Bay. There I stayed at Noeline’s, a lovely old lady who was running a homestay, and she welcomed me (and everybody else) with scones and a drink. Just the thing I needed after a long hike.
Tuesday was the furthest hike I did so far: 32 km with some 1100 m of altitude difference. However, I did manage it in about 7 hours, which everybody else thought very fast. Oh well, I just can’t walk slow, I get more tired that way. I stayed the night at Lochmara Lodge, according to the ratings the best hostel in its category. And it was indeed, at a location only reachable by water of by foot. In the evening I enjoyed the hot spa, very nice after a day of hiking, and checked out the glowworms in the forest with Samantha (from Canada).
Wednesday morning was a bit drizzly, so I stayed at Lochmara Lodge for a while reading my book and kayaking in the bay, before setting off for the last part of the Queen Charlotte Track. The last 18 km took less than 4 hours, and a watertaxi brought me back to Picton. Overall the track was pretty easy, even though the distances were quite large. The views of Queen Charlotte Sound and the many bays were just amazing. Every once in a while I would stop to look at the view and be amazed by the silence, only the sounds of the birds in the forest could be heard, very peaceful.
Today I took the ferry from Picton to Wellington. The 3 hours felt pretty short, since I was reading a very funny book (Ben Elton – Inconceivable) that I swapped with an English girl who was on the same bus from Queenstown to Picton. In the afternoon I went to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, where I managed to spend some 5 hours looking at all the exhibits and learning about NZ.