Top Timaru Hut to Pakituhi Hut – 26kms
Total – 864kms
Today turned out to be much bigger than anticipated. We continued down the Timaru River for several kms. The track sidled the river bank through beech forest and was very narrow and high above the river in places. It was a challenging track that had lots of short and steep climbs. Along the bottom we crossed the river about eight times where and when it was required.
At 12pm we reached a track junction and headed up and away from the river. It was straight up for about an hour and was really tough and involved scrambling up some rock faces. Still in beech forest for the most part but then it openned up as we came out of the tree line and reached Stody’s hut. Another hut you couldn’t pay me to stay at. We had lunch there and then continued for another hour following a farm track all the way up to the ridge line. A total of 800m elevation up from the river. The track then continued along the top of the undulating ridgeline and into Hawea Station for another 8kms until one final push up to the top of Breast Hill which overlooks Lake Hawea. The view was stunning as you come up over the brow of the hill and it is a big drop off with the lake way down below. You can see the mountain ranges behind it, including Mt Aspiring and even lake Wanaka poking out around the corner. I have attached the video of the moment I got there.
We then walked down a fence line for a few more kms to Pakituhi Hut. A modern DOC hut that is still basic but comfortable. It was a big day but very rewarding. Tomorrow we will descend to the lake and then it will be flat walking all the way to Wanaka.