I’m old enough to appreciate the ease on getting up to Nelson Lakes National Park these days, pays your money and you whiz up there in an hour and a half in the shuttle.

Pickup at 8 30am gives enough time to both eat my porridge and do some last minute packing of bits and pieces, even time to check the weather: Nelson’s looking good for the next five days, up at the National Park, well, it’s more variable.

The shuttle picks me up from my accommodation, then a few more passengers from the airport, they get dropped off at St Arnaud, the shop’s open, but then I take the opportunity of spending another $5 to get the tedious ride up to the Mt Robert carpark, saving an hour and a half of road slog, not much fun at all from memory.

I haven’t tried the pack on for weight since I loaded it up with what I think, hope, might be a couple of weeks food and fuel, plus I’ve thrown in some crampons and an ice axe for additional ballast. That feels OK for now, I’ve dumped a few things from last week’s efforts in behind Nelson, spare parts and my diary for starters, but the real test will be tomorrow morning when those straps rest on sore shoulders.

It’s a lovely walk through the misty forest, a drop to start and then a steady climb up alongside the creek. There’s others walking out, a guy with decent load stops for a chat, at Angelus last night, two families, 8 in total, are taking their time, I’ve caught them up, they are going my way, a guy is wandering down in bare feet, what’s that about, then two uni student types, gals, cheery as, who stop for a chat.

It looks as if the Thursday public holiday, Anzac Day, buried in the school holidays, has been turned into the last long weekend for a while, there’ll be plenty of bodies in the 12 person hut, not enough daylight to trudge out the five hours to get to the next hut, the Sabine down on Lake Rotoroa.

Instead there’s a heap of time to get a serious load of firewood, she’ll be a cosy old night.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Speargrass Hut

Speargrass hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
Day 2 | D'Urville Hut: back again, I first came here, umm, a long time ago →