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Round Hill to Riverton

Hiking Days Remaining: 3
Remaining Distance: 63km
Distance Covered: 3238km
Total Traverse Hiking Days: 145

The first 5.5km road section joins the southern end of the Longwood Forest Track with the Tihaka Beach Track. Only an hours hike to the ocean! I was excited to hear it again as it was three months ago since I last had the ocean right by the trail when I was hiking with Gordon on the Queen Charlotte Track. The time had passed by so quickly. It always does when you’re having fun.

I hiked through Colac Bay settlement which was deserted. Perhaps the houses there are holiday homes? As I hiked down the main street towards the ocean I could see Bluff yet again, just 3 days away. It was perfectly aligned with the end of the street. For myself, this short street seemed like a narrow corridor of victory I just didn’t want to taste. “I really just don’t want my traverse to end”.

I hopped up onto the boulders which protect the road from the waves. I really enjoyed the sound of the water crashing against the shore. It was a calm day which is unusual for this windy part of the world. The sun was out too.

After reading Philippa’s blog I factored in a bit of extra time for this beach. She had mentioned how pebbly it was and how it slowed her and Madeline down. The tide was extra high because of the celestial moon and it was still coming in. Fortunately, there was plenty of room to hike the beach. I was saved from the narrow shoulders of the road.

I met a girl named Toni on the beach. She was a biologist searching for specific types of fungi. I was interested to learn that the emerald colour of bark that I’d seen on many of my forest hikes was actually wood covered in green fungi. Without it the wood would not break down. We chatted with her for about half an hour. I had planned to meet my family in Riverton and still had a few hours of hiking ahead of me so I had to move on.

The pebbles forced a half stride for several hours but every step was enjoyed with views of Stewart Island, Bluff and the last small hill ahead of me which was covered in trees, shaped by the power of southerly antarctic winds.  As each wave receded back into the ocean it created a mesmerising sound as it stirred up the pebbles beneath.

At the east end of the beach the trail meandered over green hills and along small cliffs. Suddenly the trail seemed to come to an end but after looking around for it I discovered that it went through some thick pointy reeds. A bit of bush-bashing later and I was back on another beach. I was surprised to come across such overgrowth on a trail this beautiful and so close to a town. I’m sure that would have to be the last overgrown piece of trail.

I was excited to hike up this last hill through the trees. It sure was a nice trail. As usual, I made the extra side trip to a view-point and called my family to let them know I was running a bit behind. As I watched the sun setting, they happened to be ordering mini pizzas, so I put in my order for vegetarian. That’s them driving up the unsealed road in the photo below with my share of the pizza (bottom left corner).

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