Blue Mountains, Tapanui
On the spur of the moment we decided to actually forfeit two of the three nights we had booked in Surat Bay and drive up to Tapanui instead after we’d finished the Catlins River-Wisp Loop Track. I found something really nice on the loathsome AirBnB portal, super value for money and we got there shortly before 7pm on Monday. A whole house for ourselves. A bit spooky, since there were pictures on the walls and stuff on the mantelpiece etc. from the previous inhabitants, but lots of space, clean, quiet, and superb location for the hike we had planned for the next day. Up to the top of the Blue Mountain and back again through the „Black Gully“. It’s not long, but it’s steep and the track is not too well-formed, so very nice and just what we were looking for. I prefer this to many of the „highway“ like tracks that exist these days … . And muddy, it was muddy up there even though they had a severe drought going on – don’t wanna know what it looks like when it’s been raining … . So we could at least compensate a bit for all the hikes we had missed so far because of airline fuckups. 🙂
Tapanui itself is otherwise nothing to write home about, another sleepy little NZ town, but not touristy at all, so kind of pleasant to see some examples of real life. On Wednesday we headed back to ZQN to drop off our car and fly over to Wellington. The drive is fantastic, through Miller Flat and past Lake Roxborough, through Alexandra, Cromwell … so many orchards, so much fruit, so much ice-cream. We scream, You Scream, Ice-Cream!!!!!!!!!!!!
Below: A nice swingbridge (from the Catlins track), milk shakes and custard squares from the Tapanui cafe, the bestestestestest real fruit ice cream ever in Cromwell at „Freeway Orchard“, and the sweet little cookie monster. 🙂