All set and packed ready for another tramp from St Arnaud to Queenstown. This should take me up to the end of March.
21 Jan 2022, Nelson to Lakehead Hut
10km, 3hrs, sunny, warm
I met the shuttle driver at 12:30 he drove me to St Arnaud, six runners shared the ride from Nelson airport.
I followed the track that sits on the side of Lake Rotoiti and a gentle walk up to the first hut. It was nice to walk away from the noise of families and boats on the lake and into nature’s sounds.
That peaceful feeling of walking on mulched path tracks came back almost immediately, but the coordination took a wee bit longer. I stopped after 30 mins. I had the quick snack I intended to have at the DOC centre but missed due to wanting to get walking. I also taped an ankle and got my poles out so I was ready for the 3 hour walk.
Many birds were close to the track but quiet. Maybe day walkers on the track bothered them. It’s good to see trapping activity, stoats, rats, wasps. In fact the track markers were mainly trappers markers almost every 50 metres.
Streams running into the lake were quite dry beds of rock. The stream that flowed from Rainbow Skifield was a dry shoe hop as well. A pleasant quick walk.
A photo on my wall at home was taken in 1984 when the lake was in flood. Here it is today.
This begins my Nelson Lakes National Park and St James Walkway section. From here it will take me up past Lake Constance over Waiau Pass and into Boyle. The guide suggests 5-8 days to complete the 115km.
Today, from St Arnaud I walked up Lake Rotoiti and arrived at Lakehead Hut at 5:45. A family group of 8 had only just arrived before me but tramped the opposite direction.
Good company, good fun. By morning two young boys (14y) had pitched their tent outside having walked by torchlight last night arriving at 10pm.
The weather was overcast hot and dry by evening. Sandflies, mosquitos and wasps abundant.
A message for people planning this section. I was quite excited to be back on the track and wandered along Rotoiti stone beach until I realised there must be a track.
Stopping to work out where the track markers were the water taxi whooshed past and I thought now that’s another way to get to the hut.
I’m glad I chose not to use the water taxi. The late afternoon walk was pleasant and a good way to ease into what lays ahead.
Here’s my timing:
12:45 collected at Nelson airport
14:10 shuttle arrived in St Arnaud
15:00 check DOC and find the markers
17:45 arrive at Lakehead Hut.
If you are starting out from St Arnaud first thing in the morning a walk to West Sabine Hut without the taxi is doable.
Many miss this easy walk. The significance of the trees, birds and track with some observation helps understand the South Island back country. This is where the water ends up I’m about to walk to it’s source.