That morning we were all up pretty early. The day ahead gave the highest climb on the Queen Charlotte track (Shamrock Ridge) and after that just a minor climb and then it would be all downhill to Anakiwa. When I say 'all downhill' it will probably be up and down (as usual).
One more look at the site here, my stuff ready to get packed again.
Shai & Alan took a bit of a head start as I was a bit slow from the get go, preparing a breakfast and having my morning coffee felt necessary and I would catch up with Shai & Alan probably later that day.
First climbing back to the main trail, (to the junction with the war monument) and onward uphill to Shamrock Ridge.
The Shamrock Ridge climb was relatively easy but the burning sun was quite challenging. Sweaty and wet I came on top to make some pics and move on.
After that point the trail went through some steep fields and lots of bush, of course up and down and it took me a while to catch up with Alan. There was a side trail to a little lookout (Onahau Lookout) and Alan's backpack was laying near that junction so I left my big pack there too and set out to meet Alan. While enjoying the climb without my heavy backpack, I bumped into Alan soon, who just came back from the view; it wasn't anything new up there but Alan joined me to the top before returning to the main trail to go and follow Shai, who would wait for us at lunch anyhow.
Alan and I kept walking and talking but it took quite a while to catch up with Shai, we wondered if we had accidentally missed him but I guess our pace was just not fast enough! We finally caught up with Shai after seeing some day hikers who confirmed he was ahead still a bit. The sun was doing it's work today again so we were happy to find Shai on a nice shaded spot near a little water stream, time to rest up.
After my last bag of noodles (I did finish almost everything else) we kept going. My shoulders and feet really hurting. Those last kilometers were the hardest so far. The trail kept going on and although I really enjoyed the company, I was pretty done with the Queen Charlotte track and the heat mostly.
As more signs of habitation started to form around the trail, like sheds and fields with some horses, we just talked and kept walking. Enjoying the views on the sounds from time to time.
The trail went around the quite steep hills to wind slowly down. It seemed to take ages before we actually got on water/ground level again but when we did we rapidly came to the last camping spot on the Queen Charlotte Track. We chose to stay in the hostel instead so we kept going into Anakiwa.
The place looked like a deserted paradise somehow. Boats everywhere near the water, quite a lot of houses around with sunny porches, palm trees and with the blue skies and the burning sun it felt like a good place to live and not just walk through. A bit of searching for the correct road to the hostel but we arrived!
Slightly dehydrated, we ordered a coffee first and arranged for in-house pizzas from the freezer, which we should heat in the community kitchen. The pizza's were large but quite expensive and not so good... Then we got a bit of a tour, they had all kinds of activities (including a whirlpool) but for everything you needed to pay/reserve and well, just seemed a bit of a hassle in my opinion.
We instead settled down with a cold drink and an icecream in the still burning sun on the roof terrace, which was quite nice. Played a bit with the playful doggy of the owner, while waiting for the frozen pizza's to be given to us for dinner.
We shared a room, the three of us a prepped the pizza. Shai couldn't have pizza cause of the gluten so we cooked some rice I still had in my backpack and we had a beer. Everything was possible but it was quite setup with steep prices. I think they get a lot of messy trampers.
Very tired and with quite nasty pains in my shoulders the evening led into an early bedtime night after a bit of discussing of the plans for upcoming days.