Always seemed to be raining when I woke in the night, the wind doing its thing with those eight huge, magnificent, completely out of place, cypress trees just outside the hut. In the morning the hail came down and stayed on the mossy ground until after I left.

I suspect the first third of the track, the low-lying section through the manuka, would be boggy no matter what the weather conditions down here, some additional fluid doesn’t do much to the mix, but unlike the NWC down here it’s tempting to avoid all this swampy area, bog, by taking the water taxi into Rakeahua, ie, few do the walk to Freds Camp and probably even fewer scoot round to Freshwater.

So it was slow going at times, hanging your way through the undergrowth but eventually it turned into a fine track once in the rimu forest, although with excessive minor topographical oscillation, ie, short, sharp ups and downs, for complete walking pleasure. Here the track has been left in a more natural state and is quite wonderful, mostly.

Key sightings were a pair of red-crowned parakeets, Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae, although better know as kakariki, once common everywhere in NZ but now defined as vulnerable, Stewart Island with the lack of mustelids here, ie, stoats in particular, is a major stronghold. I’m hearing them a lot but rarely seeing them. Then a couple of k later another two, maybe the same pair, this time I’m a lot closer and I get a good squizz. They are mostly sphagnum moss green, the dark variety, with a small forelock, of crimson, a very elegant parrot, not too gaudy and over-the-top, restrained and almost austere.

Freds Camp is quite the spot for a view down Patterson Inlet, no habitation in sight, then I realise I’ll be trudging over there in a couple of days.

The tide is low and there is an abundance of blue mussels, these waters have to be pristine and the French entries exclaim delight, so spaghetti marinara for dinner tonight, looking out to that magnificent water view.

On my lonesome for the 11th successive night.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Freds Camp Hut

Freds Camp Hut, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
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