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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: -41.2708, 173.284
My two new companions and I boarded the bus at 9:40am and were on our way far up to the northern end of the south island. Our first bus will take us to the west coast where we will then journey up to the northern end. The ride is mostly uneventful. As we switch buses and make our way north through the towns I had planned on stopping in (before the trek came up), I realize that it would have been a decent mistake. There's really nothing to the towns, and they are definitely not worth stopping at for one or two walks. We end up stopping at a town (I've forgotten the name) for a 30m lunch break. This town is the one I had most looked forward to visiting as it has the famous "Dolomite Point" walk where the pancake rocks are. Since the walk is only 20 minutes, I end end up getting to do it anyways! yeah! As the ride progresses northward, the road begins to snake along the coast so bad that I feel almost like vomiting (a van, with a trailer, not exactly a luxury coach). At the next stop I jump in
the front seat and feel much better. Eventually we make it up to the city of Nelson at 5:05pm, which means the information center just closed and we can't book our camp sites there. We ignore this problem and press on and check into a hostel.
The Canadian has a tent, sleeping bag, and stove. The English guy and I have basically nothing for camping. This hostel has a major problem with having enough staff at the desk, but we manage to rent a couple of sleeping bags. Perhaps I should explain our situation first... After that, we set out to get food and fuel for his stove. He's never used his stove, and has no idea what kind of fuel to use. The Walmart-equivalent has no fuel for his stove, but then the English guy thinks "A gas station should have gas", and sure enough, it does. So we're saved there (its about 6:30pm, most places are closed). After stocking up on $90 worth of food at the grocery story (after convincing them that one can of beer was not necessary), we head back. We try to book our huts on the Department of Conservation (DOC) website, but it is
undergoing maintenance. hmmm. We go downstairs and book our bus ticket (to the trail start, from the trail end) with the reception one minute before they close. So considering that we came up with this idea 24 hours ago, and we've barely made every deadline, we feel lucky to still be going in the morning.
The English guy and I check out the rest of the town at night and grab some fish and chips at an all night diner. The rest of the evening is spent completely dumping the contents of both my bags to try and reorganize. The problem is, I have to use my big bag to hold all the food, clothes, and sleeping bag, but my big bag has everything else. Anyways, after a huge mess, I managed to cram everything else into my small bag and my laundry sack (literally cram, so much for my 3 months of forming a method to my madness of packing). The bus is supposed to pick us up at 6:45, yawn, time for sleep.
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