There’s something outrageously special about being able to camp in seclusion on a beach, I had found a flat spot with the absence of marrum grass just above the high tidemark, crashing waves lulling me to sleep, although little lulling is required out here, the sun was even still shining.

And this morning, sun rising over the sea, almost, the tide at its zenith, not much enthusiasm to move, just better to watch the sunlight on Mount Anglem on Stewart Island, the gulls and shags cruising past, the waves getting bigger as the tide retreats.

It took a little longer than I had anticipated cruising around the section of coast, then there’s the walk along the pebbly beach so it’s almost lunchtime when I get to the settlement part of Colac Bay. Stewart Island slowly slips behind the point, won’t be too long before this coast is a memory and Tahuna Beach in Nelson will be my next view of the sea.

Once you do leave the coast there’s a few kilometres of road bashing to get to an old gold mining area, Round Hill, once the mining area with the highest proportion of Chinese in New Zealand, back then, 1880s, 500 lived in slab huts near here.

There’s lots of evidence of old sluicing races, stones piled up and then you get up to the old water race that cuts across the hillside for around 25km, it was built to carry water for the sluicing operation. The track is adjacent to the race, a bit overgrown, a few gullys to bridge, following the contour so it takes a long way to go not so far. Easy walking mostly after the road and beach bashing.

A day of procrastination, distance isn’t the major objective to this particular exercise, I’m not thinking I’ll come this way again, might as well soak up the full experience.

As the day’s walking drew to a conclusion it became apparent that there were very few places to throw up a tent, clumpy crown fern on sloping ground is predominant in this landscape. In the end, after a few kilometres more walking, I found a spot that met my two camping criteria: space sufficient to physically erect the tent, close to a water source.

Humm, right the middle of the track, just enough room to get the tent up.

Rain predicted for tonight but I’m snug as a bug.

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