Start: Top Wairoa Hut
Finish: Tarn Hut
Distance: 14km

I only have 2 photos from today, which is odd cause I did quite enjoy today, so there aren’t any photos to break up the essay you’re about to read.

We had heard from a tonne of people that the first section between Top and Mid Wairoa Huts was treacherous and full of wasps so we were bracing ourselves for a slow day.

It started with an incredibly steep descent down to the river and then we enjoyed pleasant walking through bird-filled forest, crossing the river every now and again.

The river had so many beautiful swimming holes and we were sad that it was still early and not hot enough for a swim as we passed them.

After a few hours we came to the last river crossing and met some lovely ladies who we chatted to for a bit before heading off. This last section of the trail was probably the most technical as we had to sidle along narrow paths above the river and do a bit of rock climbing but for the most part it was forest walking.

We soon made it to Mid Wairoa Hut where we enjoyed a freezing swim in the beautiful swimming hole there and I had my usual marmite and slimy cheese wrap for lunch.

After drying off we set off up the big hill of the day and soon came to a huge fallen tree. The only way across was to take my pack off, crawl through the small hole and drag my pack behind me. As I was doing this, our friend Ed caught us up and simply climbed over it…damn these people and their long legs!

After Jacqui and I had sorted ourselves out again we continued up the hill. I knew this hill was split into 4 sections but they really seemed to drag on.

Especially as I only had my one water bottle which meant I had to ration my water. I was only allowed a small slip every 20 minutes which feels like an eternity when I’m climbing.

The hours pass and my back gets sore but eventually we make it to a junction, which I know is nearly the top and according to one of the maps there should be some small streams just up ahead.

We walk along the flat track for a bit and I keep straining to hear the trickle of water but it never comes and instead we cross 2 completely dry stream beds and come to the next junction. Shit. We were both out of water with still a little bit of climbing to do.

I couldn’t decide if I was better to rush up the hill so I could get there faster but thirstier or take my time but hopefully not get as thirsty. I decided on the former and we both took off up the hill and then powered down the last 1km to the hut in 15mins.

Priority 1 was getting some water and once we had both had a decent drink we took some photos and went for a wash in the Tarn.

There’s meant to be heavy rain coming in a few days time so we may have to look at exiting somewhere early and waiting out the rain in Nelson.