Saturday, 21 February 2015

Day 112. Martins Hut to Riverton.

Today 42 km. Total 2930 km. 11 hours 40 minutes (0730-1910)

We were all up at the same time.  I was ready in good time and was first one off at 0730 knowing I had a long day today.

Wilhem and Jolein at breakfast in Martins Hut

Dan at breakfast

I headed down hill on a bush track for 10 minutes before joining a forestry road for 5 minutes and then onto a gravel vehicle track for a km. I was just starting to get worried I had missed the turnoff when I saw a small footbridge over the river and a small orange triangle. I was surprised there wasnt a DOC sign for the track but was confident this was the start of the Ports Water Race Track.

Heading down

Very big Beech Trees

Yay sun

This track ran alongside an old water race constructed by miners early last century. As a consequence of its purpose it followed the contour line meaning it was very windy following in and out of gullies and spurs. It was 22 km over what should have only been12 km. For some reason I had expected this track to be in really good condition and was actually psyching myself up for a boring walk so I was pleasantly surprised that there were several rougher parts and lots of streams that we had to climb down and up. I actually ended up enjoying the first 18 km and the time went fast. It was interesting to change through the vegetation from regenerating beech, scrub to mature forest of different types. Also it was great that there was a good amount of bird life with Tomtits being especially noticeable.
Once problem was because we were going in and out of so many gullies and crossing so many streams it was hard to know where I was on the trail. It was only at 16 km mark as one side opened into farmland that I was able to get a gauge on exactly where I was. 

Wow what a easy track

Nice fast walking

Fun log crossings

Big drop down but rope assistance - luxury! 

Another fun log bridge

Old mining equipment

The water race


Punga with a moss haircut

Rougher section of track

2900 km

Old part of the water race

From there it was a little more open for a while then back into the mature bush until reaching the Long Hilly Track (not a spelling mistake) where I joined the walking track through the old mining and sawmilling area. There were some information panels and some other tracks that can be taken to explore the area but I had had enough by then and just followed the TA route out to the road.

Stream crossing

Water Race tunnel

Water Race by the track

On the Long Hilly walking track

Rope handrail

Getting close

Now it was 600m on a gravel road and then onto State Highway 99 for 4 km to Colac Bay where I headed straight to the tavern for a pie, chips and fruit juice. I was surprised on entering the outdoor seating area to see Jolein and Wilhem. They had had a rough time of the water race track, taking some bad falls and had decided to walk an alternate and shorter track to Colac Bay.

After getting an ice block for the road I continued down to the beach. I turned left and followed the road for a couple of hundred meters until my ice block was finished then jumped down onto the beach. The sand was nice and firm and had some fantastic patterns on it. Unfortunately after 1 ½ km the firm sand disappeared replaced by large pebbles that were deep and difficult to walk on. I tried walking at various places and they were all difficult though I did discover a track on the edge of the dunes that was soft sand to start but then turned into nice grass for a while before being forced back to the pebbles. This was starting to get tiring but I soon reached the turnoff to the gravel road parallel to the beach which I stayed on for 1 km to the start of the Coastal Track.

Colac Bay surfer

Bus stop at Colac Bay

It has been a long time since I have been on a beach - Colac Bay

Fantastic sand patterns

Colac Bay

Horrible Pebble walking

The coastal track followed markers over the headlands and on beaches. I found this part very tiring and a little frustrating as the track would walk on the beach which was more deep pebbles or deep sand then climb a short steep hill and walk on overgrown track for a little while before dropping back to a beach and this repeated over and over. I had already walked 35 km by this stage.

Beaches and headlands

Where I came from

Stewart Island

Overgrown track

Finally the track left the coast and headed uphill on farmland to the edge of a scrub area. This entry point was marked by a large orange triangle at a gate way. Once through the gate there were no more track markers for a while and the track started heading downhill and in a direction I was not expecting and I was beginning to think I had missed a turn. I was close to turning around and going back up the hill but decided to give it 5 more minutes and right on this time I came to a stile and a junction. There were no TA markers and a homemade orange triangle pointing over the stile was the only indication which way to go. A sign pointed straight ahead to the car park via the coastal track. I crossed the stile and was now on a gravel walking path heading uphill. There were a couple more junctions with no indications on which one TA took so I kept heading uphill until the top then directly downhill and I arrived at the car park. This was a lovely track with heaps of birds, evidence of the results of the local conservation groups efforts.

Heading up and over

Following the track - I think

Fantastic track through Mores Reserve

It was now down a gravel road into Riverton. There were some young boys jumping off the bridge which was a good height from the water. Once across the bridge I left the trail and walked down the main street of Riverton to the Globe Backpackers. There was no one there but I rang the phone number on the sign in the door and shortly after a lady drove up and let me in. She gave me my own room with a double bed for $25 and gave me a towel as she knew us trampers generally didnt carry one. I was the only person in the entire backpackers which was a little strange.


Night 112

I headed to the supermarket and then to the fish and chips shop for a burger and fries before heading back to my room. The internet was too slow to update my blog so I just read until going to sleep.


  1. Wow, top effort!!! You're just about done. I have throughly enjoyed following your journey from start to end and your blog has certainly helped me prepare for my own TA trip starting in Nov. Are you thinking of doing a final review of the whole trip? I'd be interested to see the gear you started with and what you ended up with; your highlights and lowlights. Mick

    1. Hi Mick. Yes I am doing a summary that will have some statistics and comments. I will also be doing a full gear review and will also do a page of Hints and Information for those who will do the walk in the future.

  2. Absolutely incredible effort Kirstine and success. Congratulations! I too have been following your journey and beautifully visual blog since Annabelle and I came across you on the St James Walkway. You and Fred and Nev are an inspiration to me, so much so that, I am training to do Te Ara Roa later this year. Thank you for all of your information, writings and photos. Best wishes for your 'where to next?' Vivienne

    1. Hi Vivienne
      Thanks for your comments. Well done on your decision which is actually the hardest part of the walk. I know you will have a fantastic time.