A day of contrasts.
Lakefront residential real estate. An industrial area.
A sewerage treatment plant. Milbrook Estate.
A really nice family in a cafe. A drunk alpha male idiot in a bar.
An international airport. A local travel guide.
This was our day from Queenstown to Arrowtown.
We left the backpackers as early as the bed would let us and walked through Queenstown's quiet Monday morning to the lakeside Frankton walkway.
Queenstown had been better than we'd expected. We'd managed not to bankrupt ourselves and had even met a random and good friend from home (hi Pania). The people she was having a meal with had been a bit worried as the hobo in a kilt pressed his nose against the restaurant window...we all met for breakfast on our day off. Friends are good to find on the road.
The track out of town is a weird mix of expensive residential property and all the things that make it possible.
Around the lake we met Sirjon - a young German TeA Sobo walker. He had started at Cape Reinga in October and looked like he could walk on to the South Pole...no trouble.
We stopped at the Boatshed Cafe just before Frankton for morning tea and met Kelby behind the counter. When she found out we were trail people she asked us if we knew Rory.
"He's walking the trail too. He's doing it to raise awareness of mental illness...he's probably going stay at my place when he comes through."
Kelby: trail Nice Guy in the Making.
While we had our coffees we checked out his blog.
Rory is choosing some interesting trails. Instead of walking the hideous Whanganui to Palmerston North trail it seemed like he'd found a companion or two to forge a path down the Kawekas and down through the Ruahines to Palmy.
We'll be checking out what Rory discovered and probably give it a go when we get home.
Kelby's parents were sitting at the table beside us. We struck up a conversation and found a link with what we were about to do.
Kelby's dad is the same age as Whiona and spent time in Arrowtown with Mrs Johns(t)on as a kid. To find out why this matters you'll have to read tomorrow's blog.
Past the airport...with lots of planes!...a massive residential and industrial development and the sewage ponds. It was a reality check after all the beauty of the previous few weeks.
Going over the old lower Shotover Bridge - a part of "Helen Clarke's Cycleway" - we met the most styley TeA Nice Guy yet.
Jeff was wearing moleskin trousers, a leather bike jacket and a fake mahogany veneer helmet. It all went perfectly with his blue Lambretta.
Jeff isn't a great fan of Queenstown. He refers to it as Gotham City.
He stopped to see that we weren't lost...were going to find the best track...and that we knew where the best place to get a coffee in Arrowtown was. Thanks Jeff. The Chop Shop was great.
The track we were on wasn't just the TeA track. It was part of a fantastic network of walking and biking tracks around the area. We barely touched road the whole way. The only dodgy thing was the signage. None of the distances ever added up.
As we entered the manicured paths and greens of Millbrook my phone's music shuffled to a cover of Holiday in Cambodia by Nouvelle Vague. Surreal is a word that's over and misused these days...but it was a surreal moment walking through the set of an American soap opera. Everything was perfect. The cars were so expensive.
The golf cart that drove past had three huge guys on it. They had a laugh at my kilt. I laughed at the fact that only three of their six buttocks fitted in the cart.
We were seriously ready for Arrowtown when we got there. Our feet ached. We were thirsty. We needed beer and chips.
The jug of Macs Black and an enormous bowl of wedges almost made up for the idiot from Bluff.
According to this tosser everybody who lived north of Bluff was a Jafa. Women were put on this earth to carry our stuff. And "maoris...and blacks..."
An American guy left after putting him in his place and we did soon after. The tosser from Bluff carried on.
I fell asleep on a park bench near the library while we waited for our accommodation for the night to show up.
Whiona went off for a look around town.
The text on my phone said:
"I've found a Nobo in the park!"
She'd come across the North Bounder Ron Sherk. He was sifting through his gear on another one of Arrowtown's handy park benches. It's easy to spot TeA people...they have the gear and are often seen doing domestic chores in public.
He is an interesting trail personality with too many tales to go through here - but do Google "Ron Sherk Te Araroa". He's a bit of a machine as well as a nice guy.
I will tell you this though.
He arrived at Telford Burn (the place we'd nearly lost our tent to wind a few days earlier) in a virtual storm. It was so windy and wet he'd pitched his tent by the campsite's little round Norski toilet and cooked his food inside it. In the toilet that is.
Now that is trail staunch.
Then Jan arrived in her van and took us back to Becks for cheese, cider and a catch-up. Perfect timing.
It's good to find friends on the trail.