• Jenny

Days 131-134 Wanaka to Queenstown

Day 131 ~ Walked: 14 km ~ Start: Glendhu bay ~ End: Highland creek hut (km 2,634)

We started on the Motatapu track from Glendhu bay. The track was created in 2004 along with its huts as a condition when the land lease was purchased by non NZers (Shanaia Twain). The standard was very good and definitely not a technical walk. It was well maintained with overgrown grass trimmed back the whole way.

The track started through some beech forest and the Stack conservation area before coming out into the big open hills.



We got to the first hut - Fern Burn, late morning so had a quick stop to look around and then continued on.

Spacious, light and bright

I was feeling a bit weary and finding it hard to get going. Particularly the uphills which was most of today unfortunately. I think I’ve got climbing fatigue after the last few days. It was a hot sunny day which made the struggle harder.

Trying to find a flat spot for morning tea

The climbing got steeper from Fern Burn hut

and it was a long hard climb up to Jack Halls saddle.

As with all saddles, passes and summits, it’s exciting to see what’s on the other side. This was a nice change of view but unfortunately we could also see the other ridges the track had to traverse after the steep descent down the immediate ridge.

It’s nice to see what’s coming up except for when it looks hard and you’re not feeling up to it.

The afternoon dragged but we finally made it to Highland Creek hut around 3pm. Happy to have the afternoon to relax, which I did on a mattress I pulled out onto the deck.



We were soon joined by Robert Cathy and Bruno, locals enjoying the Motatapu hike. They were good fun and we enjoyed their company over the afternoon and evening.


Day 132 ~ Walked: 11 km ~ Start: Highland creek hut ~ End: Roses hut (km 2,645)

There were two hills today of similar ascent and descent of yesterday’s one so we made sure we were away by 8am to take advantage of the cooler morning. I was feeling a bit more energetic this morning and my legs no longer felt like leaden weights thank goodness.

Gerard camouflaged

Morning tea stop

We managed to get to the peak of the second hill by lunchtime which was a wonderful feeling knowing we only had the one descent to go before we could rest. They didn’t feel as steep today but I’m not sure if that’s down to how I was feeling as they all looked similar on the elevation charts. Day 1 1st peak, day 2 next two peaks, day 3 fourth peak, day 4 fifth peak.


Today we had views down into the valley of the motatapu river and farm roads as well as to lake Wanaka at the end of the valley.



We have previously biked that road during an annual event and I thought it was hilly and steep then. But today looking down from such steep mountains it looked dead flat and I wished we were walking it instead. We biked it as a memorial to our friend John who passed away while doing the event in the year prior. So I’ve been thinking a lot of John and also Delwyn as we’ve been walking this track.

The big hills and fact that the tracks seem to be mostly be on ridges means we get to see a long way in advance the huts and upcoming tracks. Today and yesterday we’ve not only seen the hut more than an hour in advance but we also can see which hill the following days track heads up.

Tonight’s hut and tomorrows hills

Also a rarity for South Island walking is dry feet. This track hasn’t had many water crossings, but the sizeable ones have all been bridged and the rest can be jumped over. We’ve had dry feet for three days in a row!!



Skinks and bumble bees are in abundance through these hills. But something a bit rarer was this reverse coloured ladybird that landed on my pack. I also saw one the other day the usual colouring but only had two spots. Some odd mutations down here.


Again we got to the hut at 3pm and again joined by good company - Blake who is doing TA nobo

Day 133 ~ Walked: 22 km ~ Start: Roses hut ~ End: Arrowtown (km 2,667)

We all got woken in the night by something quite noisy on the deck of the hut. I thought it may have been a goat as it was quite heavy. Then I fell asleep and dreamt if was doc staff who’d come to replenish the firewood and were chopping up the picnic table. Turned out it was likely possums and they’d had a good munch on the handle of my poles. Lucky they left our shoes intact.

We got away early to get the next hill summited before the heat set in.

Part way up hill behind the hut

Down the other side of that we got to the Arrow river and took the river route for the 4km into Macetown.

This was preferable to sidling alongside with lots of ups and downs. It was nice and refreshing being in the river. I love doing river routes when they’re not in flood or too high.

Gerard not so keen on being in the water

Only complete building at Macetown

From Macetown we took the 4wd road into Arrowtown instead of the hill option.

If they’re going to call it Big Hill it’s not going to entice me. As you might have gathered we are both completely over walking hills for the time being.

It was a long hot walk to Arrowtown on the dusty road with plenty of river crossings thrown in. A lot of mountain bikers were passing us as it was opening day for a new 50km circuit from Arrowtown via cardrona. Two ultra runners also passed us who had come from Glendhu bay in one day vs our 4 days!! The motatapu event had been scheduled for this weekend but had been cancelled so I guess they thought they’d do it anyway.



Day 134 ~ Walked: 29 km ~ Start: Arrowtown ~ End: Queenstown (km 2,696)

Today was literally a walk in the park. After a delicious cafe breakfast


Arrowtown Main Street

we headed along the cycle trail track to Queenstown. It meandered through newish subdivisions,

the Millbrook golf resort



and along one side of Lake Hayes.


It was very picturesque and awesome to see so many locals out on their bikes enjoying the sunny weekend.

We reached lake Hayes estate around lunchtime and caught the bus into Queenstown from there. We had to be in QT by 2-45 and wasn’t going to make it in time by walking. Plus we’d actually biked that exact track just last year.


Windy lake Wakatipu in Queenstown

Our 2-45 appointment was the briefing for our Milford track hike we’re leaving on tomorrow. I’m so excited as we’re doing the fully guided and catered option. It’ll be such a treat compared to what we’re used to. I even feel like it’ll be a bit of a rest for us, with only one hilly day in the five days.

This is a side trip to the official TA trail and the km can compensate for those that we’ve missed for one reason or another along the way.


Day 131 ~ Walked: 14 km ~ Start: Glendhu bay ~ End: Highland creek hut (km 2,634)





Day 132 ~ Walked: 11 km ~ Start: Highland creek hut ~ End: Roses hut (km 2,645)


Day 133 ~ Walked: 22 km ~ Start: Roses hut ~ End: Arrowtown (km 2,667)


Wrong title on video but is actually into Arrowtown



Day 134 ~ Walked: 29 km ~ Start: Arrowtown ~ End: Queenstown (km 2,696)



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