and not the other way round?
Firstly, I'd like to start this post by saying that I come from Palmerston North, possibly the most unpopular city in the country. For some reason, Bluff, like Palmy, is picked on by people of "taste".
I don't like picking on the underdog AND even quite Bluff. It's real.
I've got family connections in Bluff and rumour has it that my great grandfather's brother was the harbourmaster there a wee while back. It's almost my turangawaewae...sort of...not really...
BUT. I really dislike the car park at the "bottom of New Zealand" that doubles as the end of Te Araroa. In some vague attempt to make something of Bluff's southerness, the town's planners have tar-sealed a circle on the beautiful, windswept coast. Visitors can drive up, have a fag, pie or take a selfie, then bugger off back home or to the motel.
There's a toilet, some landscaping and a nice glass fence. There's even some art...but it's all dominated by that carpark. It's kind of tragic. It's even worse than anything the Manawatu's sometimes dire TA trek can offer.
The section of Te Araroa from Invercargill to Bluff is also largely on-road. The idea of walking for three months through some of the world's most beautiful country, to end it with a day walking along the arse end of State Highway 1 just doesn't float my boat. So we're going to do it first.
Spending our last days of the big walk in the Marlborough Sounds on the other hand...mmmm...nice.
Fiona has a slightly different take on our decision. She likes the idea of walking uphill to Picton (think about it) and meeting everyone coming the other way.