It was time to say goodbye to Queenstown for good and make our way down to Te Anau, which was a town on the edge of Fiordland National Park. We stopped briefly in Frankton, just a few miles to the West of Queenstown to buy our food and snacks for our four day walk, which we were starting tomorrow. We bought some soup, ready-made pasta in sachets and some dehydrated meals, which were probably going to be disgusting but you can't be too choosy when you have to carry it on your back! For breakfast we bought some energy shakes, croissants and bananas, and for snacks we chose cake, cookies, crisps and nuts. We had a couple of water bottles as we knew each of the huts we were staying in would have drinking water and we bought Dan some precious coffee to get him going in the mornings!
A long stretch of the drive was along the Southern side of Lake Wakatipu. The weather had changed again but this time for the better, the sun was high in the blue sky and it was lovely and warm. We really dawdled along this section of road, stopping in many of the lay-bys to take in the beautiful scenery. The water in the lake was so clear and we could see lots of fishes swimming around. The Remarkables were virtually free of all snow now and looked very grand and impressive.
After a while we left the lake behind and drove through more of New Zealand's gorgeous countryside and we arrived in Te Anau by mid afternoon. First stop was to the DOC Centre to pick up our vouchers for the ferries and DOC huts along the walk. We were relived to hear that the entire walk was open and apart from the first day they hadn't had to close any sections due to avalanche risks. We were quite surprised at this as it had been quite warm the last couple of days with a couple of showers, the worse kind of weather to help avalanches along. We bought a couple of torches as the huts didn't have any electricity and then we went to the hire place in search of the walking gear we didn't have.
Liz was a lovely lady who ran her own business from an annexe in her house. We picked up a couple of sleeping bags, waterproof over trousers, a rucksack for me as I couldn't pull my wheelie backpack along the track and a proper waterproof jacket for me as it is almost guaranteed to expect at least one day of rain whilst walking along the track. While we were there another couple arrived to return their hired gear having just completed the walk. They were the first people to walk the full length of the track this year and they were beaming (and very smelly, obviously they hadn't made it to a shower as yet!)
We checked into a camp site opposite Lake Te Anau and we set about making double portions of mince and mash (no ovenproof dish anywhere to be seen in the kitchen so no shepherds pie :( ) so we could have a decent early lunch tomorrow to set us up for our walk. After dinner we went for a stroll round the lake for some fresh air and we watched the sun set behind the mountains before turning in for an early night.