Day 101 Hello South Island
Sunday 19 January Wellington to Schoolhouse Bay Campsite, Marlborough Sounds Start 3.15pm Finish 4.35 pm Distance 6km Total 1,701km Elevation 300m Weather: overcast At 3.02pm I touched down at Ships Cove in the Marlborough Sounds to start the South Island. The ferry trip from Wellington was uneventful. It is great to be here. After a quick look at the monument to Captain Cook to commemorate Ships Cove being the place he first landed in NZ, I started the Queen Charlotte Track (QCT). The monument was a large, ugly, stark white concrete monstrosity that didn't fit the surroundings and I didn't stay long and didn't take a photo.
As it was already mid afternoon the walking today was not far. A short 6km to the first campsite. The QCT is a tourist mecca, and it is still school holidays so I was expecting it to be packed. Not so. At this campsite there are 4 tents, spread out so much that I can't hear or see anyone else. None of them are TA walkers. So strange how I can go from 14 in a hut three days ago to none. I am right next to the sea, and I can hear it gently lapping the shore with weka and morepork in the background. It is very peaceful. My serenity may also have something to do with my sleepy state. On arrival here at just before 5pm, I put up my tent, arranged my bedding and then fell asleep. A good solid, properly asleep type of sleep. Woke up at 8.45pm because my stomach was grumbling. The last two nights in a bed have been my worst sleeps for a long time. Go figure!
On the way to the drop off point by mail boat this afternoon we had a 20 minute stop at the predator free Motuara Island. In 20 minutes you can't see much, but there were empty penguin nesting boxes and I managed my first decent photo of a Toutouwai (NZ Robin). The QCT trail is wide and easy, taking a gentle zig zag approach up the hill. I also hit the 1,700km mark. I forgot at the time so have taken a photo at the campsite, one km along. Well that's a lot to say about such a short walking day. Time for more sleep.