Queen Charlotte Track, Day 2

 

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Even in the misty rain, it’s beautiful.

Walking around Endeavour Inlet.

New Zealand isn’t known as the Land of the Long White Cloud for nothing. We woke on Day 2, to a misty, cloudy day, for our walk around Endeavour Inlet to Mahana Lodge, our destination for the night. This was a relatively easy walk of around 15 kms as our chosen accommodation for Day 1, Cnoc na Lear, was situated on the northern side of the inlet.

Cnoc na Lear to Furneaux Lodge

The mist subtly coloured the landscape, giving it an otherworldly dimension as we walked the 2 or 3 kms to Furneaux Lodge which is located in a wonderful setting at the head of the inlet.

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View from Cnoc na Lear across the Inlet to Furneaux Lodge jetty

 The weather also gave us the opportunity to test some of the gear we had purchased for just such an occasion. I have to say that my Kathmandu merino t-shirt and rain jacket passed the test.  I was super comfortable and dry all day. I will admit though, it’s not a look you will see on a Paris catwalk.

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Dressed for the rain in my Kathmandu gear at Furneaux Lodge

Furneaux Lodge to Miners Camp

This part of the walk passes through ferny forest and traverses the head of the Inlet.

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If you have time to spare, there’s also a waterfall or two to visit near Furneaux Lodge

And across a suspension bridge over a tumbling creek and on through some open grassland to Miner’s camp.

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Feels like a real adventure when you cross a suspension bridge or two!

It was in this open grassland that I made my first mistake. As this part of the walk was relatively flat, I hadn’t carried my walking poles, a decision I was to regret. The grass was thick, high and very, very wet. Within minutes, my tights and socks were soaked and my toes were wallowing around in my boots. Not a peaceful, easy feeling! If only I could have parted the grass with my poles, like Moses parting the Red Sea.  But Punga Cove was still hours away, so undeterred, we squished and squelched our way on to Miners Camp.

Miners Camp to Punga Cove and Mahana Lodge

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We leave the grassland and climb up and down along the southern arm of Endeavour Inlet.

We were now on the southern side of the Inlet and this was the most strenuous part of the Day 2 walk.  We seemed to be trudging uphill through forest … a lot. There were tree ferns everywhere sprouting forth.

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And little coves with  private jetties.

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It wasn’t only a sea of green. There were flowering shrubs. One which caught my eye was this one. Have no idea what it was but it had a lovely scent.

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Reminds me of an Australian tea tree

We were rewarded with lovely vistas over secluded coves, perfect for a lunchtime break as we made our way towards Punga Cove and our destination for the night, Mahana Lodge.

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Adrift on a sea of aquamarine

It was mid afternoon by the time we reached Punga Cove. We passed the DOC campsite at Camp Bay and then passed the Punga Cove Resort. We were tired and for a moment, I wished I had booked our second night here. But about another kilometer further on, Mahana Lodge awaited us.

Here, hosts John and Ann Martin made us feel at home. As we were getting acquainted and selecting our dinner menu for the evening, we discovered that John and Ann had lived for a number of years in Kenn’s home town of Condobolin in central NSW. John had worked at the Agricultural Research Station undertaking research into rabbit control in the early 1970s. They remembered the town and its people very fondly. It’s truly a small world.

Our ensuite room in the lodge was spacious and luxurious. After a long, hot shower and wrapped in a super soft complimentary dressing gown, I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon tea.  Ann’s wonderful home baking did not last very long I can assure you.

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The  sitting room in the Lodge. That sofa was very comfortable, a great place for a cuppa and a good book.

 

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Storm clouds gather over the homestead, as seen from the sitting room in the Lodge

Dinner in the candlelit conservatory at the homestead was very special and memorable. We enjoyed artisan bread baked by Ann and mussels in white wine as our entree. We chose salmon from the sound, smoked by John to his recipe, over wild rice as our main course which was accompanied by  the freshest salad.  All ingredients had been picked that day by John from his extensive garden. Food when it’s local and super fresh always tastes amazing. We finished with profiteroles smothered in chocolate and a home made raspberry sauce. Yum!

We would have liked to spend longer at Mahana Lodge:  explore the cove on the free kayaks, complete some shorter walks around the inlet or  watch the glow worms  flicker in the creek behind the Lodge.

But the Queen Charlotte beckoned. Day 3, according to Ann, would be challenging yet deeply rewarding!

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Sunset over the cove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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