Riverton to Invercargill
Hiking Days Remaining: 2
Remaining Distance: 38km
Distance Covered: 3263km
Total Traverse Hiking Days: 146
For today, the tide determined when I would set out hiking. I required an early start as it would take six hours to hike Oreti Beach at low tide. I factored in an extra hour for a break as well as the crossing of The Waimatuku River. This would be the last of the beach hiking on this trail.
It was still dark when Gordon and I hiked out of Riverton. The tide was still going out as we reached the beach. 5km later Gordon exited the beach and I continued on. Rain set in for a few hours. It was a cold day but luckily not too windy.
Oreti beach reminded me a lot of Ninety Mile Beach which took several days to hike at the beginning of this trail in New Zealand’s Far North. Plenty of interesting things to see along the way which took my mind off my feet and legs which were beginning to tighten up after the repetitive hiking on flat hard sand. I remembered how uncomfortable my legs felt at the start of this hike in October after each day’s beach hike and today was no different. The beach had a lot of kelp scattered around. Most of it was pink and mushed up but my favourite one looked like a sleeping alien. Huge seagulls, the same as seen on Ninety Mile Beach, circled me and I enjoyed the sound of the waves for most of the day.
I reached the Waimatuku River mouth where it flowed out to the sea and looked for a suitable crossing. Since I didn’t have my gaiters on I had to take off my boots in order to keep them dry as I waded across. I sat down next to the river and whilst I put my boots back on I saw the first surge of water flow up the river as the tide came back in. It wasn’t long after that, that the Waimatuku River was at waist level so the timing worked out well for me. A great site to consider when working around the tides in this area is http://www.tidespy.com. The layout together with the rising of the sun and moon really does make planning all too easy. I used this site last night before setting my alarm.
At this point Bluff lay dead ahead and was no longer plain dark in colour. Detail started to appear. Another two days and I’ll be there. I also had good views of Bald Hill (where I was three days ago) and Stewart Island.
My family met me on the beach and my Mom and Dad joined me for the last kilometres to Dunns Rd where the beach hiking ended. I continued on towards Invergcargill with Gordon where I ended the day’s hiking at the Oreti River Bridge.