Monday 2_26...Ferry trip and start of the Queen Charlotte Track...
Anna Marie got us up and moving this morning at 6 am...I ate bagels and cheese and jam and Orange juice. Our $2.00 shuttle was right on time at 7:15 and dropped us off right at the door of the Inter-Island Ferry terminal. The 92 km... 3 hour ride which connects New Zealand's North and South islands is said to be one of the most scenic ferry rides in the world. This ferry service, officially part of State Highway One is known as a roll-on-roll-off ferry since is carries passengers and cars and trucks between Wellington and Picton. The ship was much larger than we had imagined boasting large food court, children's play areas and of course the lower whole deck devoted just to vehicles.
Our ride was smooth and enjoyable but we did arrive an hour late at 12:30 and I was concerned that we might miss our 1 pm shuttle with Cougar Lines. Luckily the shuttle turned out to be 1:30 and we had time to wander the waterfront and find a cute cafe where we enjoyed their free ice-water and ate our own lunch. We hiked back to the Cougar Line dock and while we waited on the steps, a little black cocker spaniel named Max "christened" Anna Marie's pack! It turns out that all dogs like AM, for when we boarded the boat, the Captain's dog, "Riley" made a bee-line towards her and she instinctively grabbed her pack...but Riley opted for her lap this time.
For most of the ride to the trailhead, we sat in the forward area and visited with 2 nice German fellows with very professional looking cameras. They were hiking the whole track from Ship's Cove to Anakiwa Bay. Since our reservations for the Milford track had materialized...we were only able to spend two days on the track.
As you can see from the table below...the walking times in New Zealand are listed by times not usually by distance. We were dropped off at Resolution Bay at 3 pm and arrived at Furneaux Lodge at 6:45. Exactly 1 hour slower than SLOW! But...hey...we enjoyed the day and took lots of breaks and pictures. The cicada and/tree frog sounds on the trail were so loud that we could hardly carry on a conversation. I wish I could have figured out how to record them with my camera...I know I can do it...since I did it by mistake earlier. We were passed by a group of guided walkers and sat and visited with one of the guides on one of our rest stops. One of the woman hikers was having a very nasty foot/blister problem and they were waiting for her to arrive.
We enjoyed a very lovely dinner at the Lodge and struck a deal to have the German fellows send us some of their wonderful pictures...Hope this will work out as we really only had a small taste of the Queen Charlotte. Now that I am home, I wish we had made it a point to re-arrange our schedule and do the entire track. If I am ever able to go again that will be a MUST on my list. We saw a couple of Weka's, a small hen-like friendly bird. We were startled by two rather large NZ pigeons who stayed on their branch, rather grouse-like only flapping and flying away at the very last moment
After dinner we continued on to Endeavor Resort, finally locating our "rustic" accommodations for the evening. Thank you to the manager/owner, our bags were up the hill and we only had to tote them over to our cabin. The shower/bath house was right outside our door. The cabin reminded me of our "rustic" cabin at the top of the world in Kawai. But... it was all good as our beds were great and my butter didn't melt in my pack. We both chose to occupy bottom beds...necessitating our being in separate rooms...it was rather lonely . Bed at 10:30...sleep at 10:31.