• Jenny

Days 48-52 St Arnaud to Boyle - part 1

Day 48-50 ~ Walked : 0 km, ~ Start: St Arnaud ~ End: St Arnaud (km 1964)


Three full days of rest!! We had planned to take two to give our bodies a break from the nine days straight hard slog and long days through the Richmonds. We’ve still got no aches or pains and our feet are all good so we’ve been lucky in that regard.

Satisfying dinners
Equally satisfying but not as nutritious lunch

The extra day delay was due to heavy snowfall yesterday and the day before. Our next section goes over the waiau pass and we don’t have the gear or experience to do that if it’s icy. So the extra day will give it a chance to melt before we get there.

Snow on the hills at st Arnaud - 60cm fell over 2 days on waiau pass

We’ve spent our days sorting our packs out, airing everything to get rid of the smoky smells, eating, blogging, home admin, upcoming section planning, and several trips a day to the lake for photos. We’ve also visited the DOC office daily for advice and weather updates.


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Mother duck keeping wary eye on the eels

Day 51 ~ Walked : 24 km, ~ Start: St Arnaud ~ End: John Tait hut (km 1988)


We woke to a clear sunny day and pleased to be on our way again. It was a great track alongside the length of lake rotoiti.


We started off slow reading all the signage about the local trees. We also went back to pussy footing around the mud and little streams.


It was a fairly busy track with day trippers out walking and the water taxi seemed to be having a busy day up and down the lake the whole time too.


Lunch was at lakehead hut then the track followed the Travers river up the valley. The stream crossing straight after lunch was too deep to keep our feet dry so that bought the pussyfooting to an end. Basically no elevation all day and a very good track.


An easy start back. Despite this I felt sluggish most of the day and really only got my mojo the last hour or two.


We shared the hut tonight with Karan and a group of four on a stag do. They were very civilised though - no alcohol.

John Tait hut


Day 52 ~ Walked : 14 km, ~ Start: John Tait hut ~ End: West Sabine hut (km 2002)


We were in for at least a 10 hour day so set off early at 7am leaving the stag do guys to sleep in. They were very courteous to us the previous evening. They did their socialising all evening outside (in the freezing cold) and snuck in very quietly with only their red lights on around midnight.


It was a three hour riverside stint up to the first hut. It was a bit of a steeper incline than the previous day.


We did a quick little detour to the Travers Falls that was roaring.

From there we were into the open grassy valley to climb the mountainside up to the Travers pass.



Being amongst the mountains was exhilarating and the snow made it all the more impressive.



It felt quite humbling being at the spots where rivers began their life.


The pass itself was still quite snowy but easy enough to walk through especially with the foot prints of those who’d gone before us.

Through the Travers pass
View on the other side

Then came the very very steep descent. At least there was a path to follow. There was a little on the mountainside but mostly through the trees.


Once it levelled out it was quite pleasant with the sun filtering through the trees. We also passed over a very impressive canyon. The bridge was only about 2 metres long but the depth would have been around 100m and the river was roaring through in the depths below. We could only see little glimpses of it but could certainly hear it.

I think today was the first time a hut has come into view before we were expecting it. Such a good feeling. The guidelines for this section from the morning tea hut were 6-8 hours so we thought we’d do it in seven. Particularly with how many photos we were taking all day. We arrived a touch over five hours which was awesome. It gives our shoes and socks a chance to dry out in the sun.


There were seven others at the hut tonight all of who were short multi day hikers apart from Karan. Being on shorter trips they had a few goodies to share with us; the board game ‘sequence’, and excess (!!?!) chocolate.



Day 51 ~ Walked : 24 km, ~ Start: St Arnaud ~ End: John Tait hut (km 1988)



Day 52 ~ Walked : 14 km, ~ Start: John Tait hut ~ End: West Sabine hut (km 2002)



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