There was a lot of private farm land for us to walk over followed by several rainy days, but it was more beautiful than we'd thought. Our last forest section was through the muddy Longwood forest in thick fog which made navigation difficult. But we met up with Kiwi tramper Peter and that made the going much more fun. The next day and a half was along the beach and road. The weather cleared up and we enjoyed beautiful beach walking on Tuesday. It was nice to have our second to last day on the beach, it felt similar to how we had started the trail back on 90 mile beach four months before. The final day on the trail however is spent doing a 21km road walk down highway 1 followed by a final 7km along the coast to Stirling Point, the southern terminus on the TA. The road walk was AWFUL!! The shoulder was minimal where it existed and there were non stop trucks driving by for hours. We walked as fast as we could to get off the road, and enjoyed the final 7km walk near the water. The weather on the southern coast of NZ is notoriously bad but we lucked out by having the sun with us all day. We had a very anti-climactic finish: we took some photos, enjoyed the views and then kept walking. We wanted to get back to Invercargill and it was getting dark. People always ask if there are lots of emotions, do you feel a huge sense of accomplishment, and what it's like to finish a long distance trail. In the moment I didn't feel that, we've been feeling that all along and reflections and more appreciation come later on. We were both just grateful to have made it there, we still have lots of exploring and walking to do!
We plan to spend the next several weeks exploring more of NZ. We're going to Stewart Island for a few days, we plan to go the the Catlin's coast, back to Fiordland National Park, Mt Aspiring National park, the West Coast and wine country, among other places.
Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way and thank you for reading this blog. We plan to update it with some post trail thoughts, and gear reviews, so don't forget to check back.
-Jetpack and Brazil Nut
|Brazil Nut hiking on the Takitimu track|
|Jetpack at Telford Tops|
|The Longwood Forest|
|Final beach walk|
|We made it to Bluff!|