We are among the last to leave the hut this morning. We bid farewell to the six ladies we met on Day One and the family of nine we hung out with yesterday as they take off from the hut. Before leaving for good, we grab the camera and visit the bay again to see if anything exciting has arrived over night. We spot two kingfishers (mating!) and the heron again, but all are too far for photos, so our visit is fairly short. We head back up to the hut to grab our things and hit the trail.
Just before leaving a couple of hikers tell us of another trail behind the hut by the woodpile that leads down to a different beach. We go check it out, and are delighted to find a sandy and secluded little bay. We feel pretty dumb for not realizing that this beautiful bay was even here until we were about to leave. Better late than never, I guess!
Once we get going, it’s another muddy day on the track. At least the coastal views are pretty, and we do our best to enjoy the lush, fern-filled bush on our last big day of tramping in NZ.
We meet a younger fellow on the trail when we are stopped for a rest break who grew up on Stewart Island. He tells us that he helped build the trail with his father when he was a boy! He is impressed the trail has held up but admits there are some really gnarly spots of muddy track.
We take the short trail extension along the coast and notice how much calmer the water is on this side of the island today. This must be the protected side of the island which helps explain why we see so many boats anchored in the beautiful coves we pass.
We emerge from the trail near Golden Bay where we will catch the boat to Ulva Island tomorrow and head to Stewart Island Backpackers to camp for the evening.
We have a (cold!) shower before heading to the South Sea Hotel for dinner and a handle at NZ’s southernmost pub. After dinner, we take a stroll to the golf course, based on a tip from the folks at the DOC, in an attempt to spot the elusive kiwi bird. We get there right at dusk, which is good, but we are not sure where to look. We do spot something walking around in the bushes, but it looks more like a weka instead of a kiwi, so we can’t really count it. We walk back to town in the dark, eager for a quiet night of sleep all alone in our cozy little tent.
Trail Logistics, Day 3
Start Point: North Arm Hut
End Point: Oban
Distance: 13-15 km (depending on route back to Oban)
Walking Time: 5-6 hours
Date on Trail: 02 January 2017
Best Done: It is possible to tramp the Rakiura Track throughout the entire year.