REST DAY AT PORTAGE BAY
Like most who tackle the Queen Charlotte Track, we walked the actual track in four days. But as this was our first long distance, multi-day hike, we added a rest day at Portage Bay.
This was mainly my idea. I know my limitations. While I’m up for a challenge, I didn’t want the walk to become a punishment. I knew from past experience, that walking for eight hours up hill and down dale would leave me a trifle knackered. A good dinner and a Pinot Grigio might not be sufficient to restore my spirits. My feet might need rest and some tender loving care if I wanted them to happily walk a further 20 kms to Anakiwa to finish.
So we rested at the Portage Hotel. As we soaked in the hot tub, massaging our aches and pains away, we congratulated ourselves on our decision. Following a gentle stroll in the rain, the weather closed in and we were content to curl up on a comfy sofa before the open fire, meet fellow travelers and hope that the weather would clear overnight.
PORTAGE BAY TO MISTLETOE BAY
After three days of overcast weather, imagine how thrilled we were when we were greeted by sunny skies. The Portage Hotel supplies a courtesy bus that takes walkers up the hill to rejoin the track. There we tackled the hill that would lead the way across the Torea Saddle to Mistletoe Bay.
This is quite a hill but the views from the top were amazing.
This section was challenging enough. I was huffing and puffing my way downhill towards Mistletoe Bay when a party of Primary School students passed us going uphill. Some were darting up ahead while others were almost skipping up the hill, singing as they went. Such stamina! No wonder, New Zealand produced Sir Edmund Hilary.
MISTLETOE BAY TO ANAKIWA
After Mistletoe Bay, the track takes a downhill turn and it’s easy walking to Anakiwa.
There are still wonderful vistas over the sound but the vegetation is changing. There are more flowering plants.
But even on this section, the water is beside you, shimmering shades of aquarmarine.
Then, all of a sudden it seemed, we were at sea level, walking through beech forests past little coves with sandy beaches.
Before too long we reached our destination, Anakiwa. We were sore…and tired…but oh so happy. We enjoyed an ice cream while we waited for our Cougar Line water taxi to pick us up. As we skimmed over the water on our way back to Picton, everyone was quiet, reflective, treasuring their memories of the panoramas of the Queen Charlotte Track.