Colac Bay to Invercargill. Beach again!

​Day 131. Colac Bay – Oreti Beach. 27km. Total 2947km.

Today we can take it slowly and start late. We won’t hike too far today and enjoy a lazy breakfast. I am completely out of food now, it’s really time for resupply in Riverton, our lunch stop. 

From our campsite we walk to the beach, it’s a grey day but I am very happy to be back on the beach after such a long time! After some stony parts I can enjoy walking barefoot, what a joy for my feet! 

Beach, beach, beach and feet 😉

When we reach the cliffs, I need to put back my shoes on. With the high tide we follow a coastal track above the cliffs and back down in between. The rocks have an amazing colour and the views are great, although it doesn’t seem to get really daylight today, the sky is covered and it’s pretty dark. There are just some showers though and we are not getting too wet. 

Some bushbashing…
Beautiful coastline

Love these green rocks

After a few kilometers we veer up a hill (tiny, just 170m, nothing for us now ;-)). From the other side we get a nice view of Riverton. And that’s where we walk down to now, joined by Jake and Kaitlin who camped with us last night and catched up now. In Riverton we get some fish’n’chips, with the speciality here, Blue Cod fish (not my favourite). At the supermarket we buy dinner, breakfast and lunch (once each), tomorrow we will already be in Invercargill. Of course I buy far too much and good heavy food. Plus 4l of water (tired of filtering especially as my squeeze bag has a hole), my backpack which was TINY and light this morning is now heavy again. 

Then we are back to the beach, the Oreti Beach. 23km of beach is waiting for us, but we plan to camp half way. 

This time the beach is easy to walk. Its almost low tide and the sand pretty hard and hence good for hiking. We walk and walk, getting wet in between from rain. After 10km a very small stream to cross, a few kilometers further a bigger one. Easy at low tide but the trail notes warn about high tide.

The river mouth

All things grey now, there was not much daylight today. But we had so many great days before!

 Just after we try to get through the dunes to some trees to camp there. It’s a fight through high grass and we are too far away from the beach. We walk back and decide to just camp behind the dunes in the sand. The sand is hard enough to put our stakes in and we find some stones for some more weight to hold them (just in case wind is coming tonight).  We want to have dinner at the beach and find a nice spot on a log. We are surprised to see people on the beach, with cars. All day long there was no one, now they come for a visit. 

Hiding in between the dunes

Unfortunately the sandflies find us soon and I am so annoyed that I have to get back into my tent. But now all the sand is in the tent, on the pad and sleeping bag. The wet sand is sticking to my feet… Such a mess! At least I can wash everything in Invercargill, I already planned to have my sleeping bag washed at a dry cleaner. After 4 months it’s about time 😉 

There’s no nice sunset, just clouds and fog but I walk around and up the dunes for views, finding loads of stuff like an old rusted car or rubbish. As it’s starting to rain I am hiding again in my tent, finishing my book as I can’t sleep much that night.

A big mess and loads of sand in my tent plus my dinner. Not sure I can be reintroduced into society after the hike 😉

Day 132. Oreti Beach – Invercargill. 17km. Total 2964km.

It rained quite a lot during the night. Not exactly what we planned (sunrise and breakfast at the beach!?). But it’s only 17km to Invercargill and our Backpackers where we can wash and dry everything. 

At least in the early morning the rain stops and after a breakfast in the tent, we continue hiking at the Oreti Beach. The morning sky is dramatic with the clouds and the light, reflected in the sea. 

Just some glimpses of the sunrise

Horses must have been here, I would love to ride on the beach but it’s crazy expensive.

Maybe the last opportunity to write something in the sand….

Too soon the kilometers at the beach are over and the road replaces the sand. Just 9 kilometers into Invercargill are left for today. 

We reach the town at 11am, go to Pack’n’Save supermarket and then have lunch at our hostel. The afternoon is spent giving our sleeping bags to the dry cleaning (desperately needed after 4 months!), buying some nice but cheap clothes in a clearance sale (got a skirt and top for Buenos Aires and the final days in NZ), picking up my camera (yeay!!!! Finally!!!!), washing clothes, washing our tents and sleeping pads, ourselves and finally dinner! After dinner I walk back to the supermarket to buy champagne for the grand finale tomorrow … But It turns out in Invercargill only liquor stores may sell alcohol, and they are either too far away or already closed. I am disappointed, but well, we will just drink the champagne once we are back in Invercargill! 

A long last day awaits us tomorrow, 36km to Bluff. I can’t believe it. Let’s see how it goes, of course I got blisters underneath my feet from walking barefoot on the beach. Everything needs to finish as it started 😉

Highway into Invercargill. Not a nice town, feels more like an industrial area, but we get everything we need here.

One of the few nice buildings here

Got a good laugh but didn’t buy it. I had enough mud for free on the TA 😉
Our hostel. Looked very modern from their website but it’s not…
Tomorrow, Bluff and the end of 3000km. It feels alright to finish the trail now, but I will miss it. 

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