Start: Hope Kiwi Lodge
Finish: Hanmer Springs
Distance: 14.5km

It’s so funny looking back on the day, I remember as I was walking I was thinking that not much has happened and that it was a nice peaceful day, but in reality today was one of the more eventful days.

It started with a pleasant few KMs through tussock and forest before the stunning swingbridge over the Hope River. The bridge was quite high over the gorge and the view over the river was amazing.

From here we walked through tussock farmland next to the river and I was enjoying the serenity when suddenly Jacqui stops, points and whispers “There’s bulls through there.”

I look and sure enough on the trail through a couple of trees are 2 big beef bulls fighting. We quietly but quickly deviated from the track and gave them a very wide berth. After rejoining the trail we kept looking behind us, paranoid that they had decided to follow us. Eventually we headed back into the forest and I was able to relax.

Not long after this photo I accidentally missed a turn and led us the wrong way down along the riverbed, which was incredibly slow going. I was questioning my navigational skills when I heard someone calling so I looked up and there was Jeremy above us, next to the Halfway Hut. We scrambled up the hill to join them for a quick snack before heading off again.

We had a nice walk through the forest out to Windy Point, crossing another swingbridge over Boyle River.

We all started walking out to the road only to be stopped by a landing helicopter. We waited and watched as hunters piled in and the Heli took off again. What a way to start your hiking trip off!

Once we got to the road we waited over an hour in the heat before someone pulled over and took us 10km up the road to Boyle Village to collect our food parcels before heading back out to the road to hitch back to Hanmer.

We weren’t waiting too long before a car pulled up, skidding on the gravel and a window rolled down. We piled our stuff in the back before getting in ourselves and shortly after he pulled back onto the road we knew we were in for a terrible time.

He sped through Lewis Pass, overtaking cars on corners and not slowing down for road works, all the while chain smoking. I was pretty sure we were going to crash, I could envision us rolling off the side off the cliff or having a head-on with a truck. So while he was telling us about his life story we were gripping the door handles and watching the map to see how much further to go.

As soon as he stopped the car in Hanmer we jumped out and I nearly started crying. It felt like a miracle that we were alive. We said goodbye to him and as he drove off we hugged each other because we were so grateful to have made it. We were speechless, we kept looking at each other in disbelief over what had just happened.

After stumbling to our accommodation and having a quick shower we headed out for a well deserved drink, still filled with adrenaline and disbelief.