Start: Schoolhouse Bay Campsite
Finish: Ship Cove
Distance: 6km

I woke this morning with mixed emotions. By tonight I’ll be in the North Island, which is both extremely exciting and quite sad. The North Island is scenic for sure but there isn’t the remoteness and isolation like there is in the South Island. But I can’t stay here forever so at 6.15am off we went.

We climbed gradually to the saddle and I could see the sun slowly rising, casting a fiery orange over the hills and lighting the clay up.

After about an hour we came to the saddle and I looked out over ship cove and the Cook Strait and let out a little sob.

The sun was just rising above the horizon and casting beautiful warm light over the view in front of me.

I could not believe that I was here. In an hour’s time I would be at ship cove, having walked the entire South Island.

We pulled ourselves away from the view and descended down the hill. Slowly the water got closer and closer until we emerged from the forest and right in front of us was the Ship Cove jetty.

I had done it, I had walked 1300km from Bluff to this point. The tough days, the good days, all blurred into one dream-like adventure.

And yet, it felt like every other day. We sat and ate some food, took some pictures and enjoyed the sun while we waited for our boat to arrive.

I had been smiling since seeing the sunrise over Cook Strait and my smile continued as we enjoyed a pleasant boat ride back to Picton and as we lay in the sun while we waited for our ferry.

Boarding the ferry to head back up to Wellington felt surreal. I genuinely could not believe we had just finished the South Island, how had we done it? Walking those 30km days back at the start, this day felt like an unachievable dream, yet here I was. 

The day was made even better when, as we were sitting in the ferry looking out over the water, I spotted some movement, squiting against the glimmer of the water, I exclaimed “Dolphins!” 

There was a pod of dolphins playing in the water next to the ferry.

It sounds weird, but that moment gave me a feeling. I knew, that no matter what happened, life would be alright.