I did it! Yesterday I did the whole Rakiura track all in one day. Door to door it was a little bit more than 42K, most of it through mud and oftentimes going uphill so I am pretty proud that I made it, considering that I didn’t work out at all for the past year or so.
As a preparation for this walk I started going on bigger and bigger walks about a month ago – starting slowly with 5K and going up on 20K.
At the beginning it was really hard, I think I never was this out of shape in my life. Before I was kind of a sports-maniac, I never missed a workout, I trained about 5-6 times a week, so it was kind of a shock for me to realize how much out of shape one can get in one year… Time to do some workout! And so I used every opportunity I could get while travelling south until I finally arrived in Stewart Island the day before yesterday.
I started with the first rays of light at about 6:45 AM and came back at about 6PM with the last bit of sunshine which was just in time because once the sun is down it gets dark. Like, really really dark, the kind of dark that doesn’t let you walk any further.
I started at the beach, first off were a few bays until I came to the entrance of the track. I went through fern-woods, through regular woods with more and with less good track conditions. Sometimes it was very comfortable to walk. I walked along the coast and through the sand at one moment, and through the woods and through mud in the next. I crossed a lot of bridges and climbed over a couple of trees to escape the muddy track.
I walked the whole day with only a few short breaks and one longer break after the last hut where I met the nice people I knew from the ferry ride to the island.
Usually they recommend to do the track in 3 days – 2 nights using the two huts that are on the track to sleep in but I don’t have the equipment aka. a sleeping bag and a stove and cookingware to stay in such a hut so I decided that I would do it in one day instead.
All I took with me was some food, a water bottle, my mobile phone (to check the time) and my camera.
The last 10K were the hardest part, there weren’t any signposts around telling you how many kilometres are left to go and after you have walked for this long you simply get tired because when do you usually walk that long?
I literally hit the pillows as soon as I arrived at the hostel and I woke up a few hours later, just in time to brush my teeth and to change into my pyjamas.
Today, I slept in and had a big late breakfast. Then I took a different route and re-walked some part of the track in the brilliant sunshine that we had today (at least at first 🙂 )
New Zealand definitely has the prettiest landscape I have ever seen! There was this point where I was standing in the deep forest and I could hear the waves of the ocean right next to me. I heard amazing birds and saw a deer and even a kiwi (the bird) tonight (no picture though, this bird is a pretty quick runner)!
The forest has a great variety of fern and I felt like I was being transported back in time, to the time when no humans were there and only animals lived on the island. The fact that on the whole track only one person crossed my way really helped with the image.
All in all it was a great track, my first trekking experience and I would take the one day option with no baggage over the three day option with all the equipment again – minimalism rulez!