Start: Havelock
Finish: Cowshed Bay Campsite
Distance: 22km

This is it, the start of our last section in the South Island, today we start the Queen Charlotte Track and man did I start the day in a shit mood. I didn’t want to wake up, didn’t want to chat to anyone and just could not get excited about what I knew was going to be a beautiful day. It didn’t help that we had to hitch to Anakiwa which always makes me anxious.

We got ready and at 7.30am we were standing out the front of the backpackers with our thumbs out. We waited for about 45mins before we found a ride who took us all the way into Anakiwa. The drive was beautiful, looking out over the Kenepuru Sound and it was so calm and peaceful.

After getting dropped off we explored the jetty and got ourselves ready to start the day.

Then it was time to start. A mixture of excitement and nerves as I knew the views were going to incredible but we were doing slightly longer distances than we normally would so would my feet cope?

We wandered along the track, passing Davies Bay, a family of weka with their cute fluffy babies, and a cute black goat before stopping at a lookout for the first full views of the sound. Wow.

We decided that we were making quite good time so could afford to detour down to Mistletoe Bay for a look. We bought an ice cream and sat by the water and just took in the magnificent scenery. I could not believe I was here, it felt like a long time coming.

Then we grit our teeth and begun the climb back up the hill to meet the track where we kept climbing up the first hill of the day. Compared to how I felt climbing this hill when I did the QC last year, I can tell how much fitter I am. I’m not puffing as much, not having to stop, and I’m carrying 10kg more on my back! It definitely helps that the views make it all worthwhile!

We reached the top, descended down and started the next climb and the views got better and better and better. The water was changing colour and with the Queen Charlotte Sound on our right and the Kenepuru Sound on our left, we didn’t know where to look.

We descended down the hill, taking the trail to the campsite and was hit with the deafening sound of Cicadas. I could barely hear myself think and they kept flying into us. It was a long 600m down to the campsite!

We arrived and set up our stuff and then wandered down to the Portage Hotel, excited about our first meal out on the QC.

The menu at reception had Caesar Salad on it…SOLD! I’ve been craving that since Tekapo! But then the lady at reception told us they were booked out with a conference so we had to settle for a box of takeaway wedges, which we ate at a picnic table by the water.

What a way to spend Valentine’s Day!