Setting off before 7am, we walked up a 4WD track with multiple river crossings, getting wet feet from the start. There was only one bridge –  the most dodgy swing bridge by far.

We made good time to the deserted gold mine town of Macetown, where we stopped for our first lunch. I had prepared buckwheat pancakes in Queenstown YHA, and they made a welcome change.

Our original plan had been to stop here for the night, but we pushed on towards Roses Hut. Partly because it was so early and partly because of bad weather forecast for the weekend. We initially followed the river but when that became impassable we switched to the higher track. We were soon overtaken by Anthony and Elkie. The track became very overgrown. A real battle to go on.

We stopped for our second lunch with a view of the climb in front of us and decided we really didn’t want to do that anymore. So we began the 2hr walk back to Macetown. We met another (older) couple who tried to dissuade us, but our minds were made up. By the time we reached Macetown we had replanned the rest of our trip around tourist activities in Arrowtown and Wanaka.

Setting up camp that night was tinged with disappointment, but we felt we had made a realistic decision. I was hiding from sandflies in the tent when Martyn called out “Hoera is here!” and I replied “No way!” Then walking down the track came a young Maori woman we had met in Te Anau. She told us she had been trying to catch up with us since seeing my Facebook posts. She was keen to continue towards Wanaka the next day.

Dinner of root veg stew with chickpeas and rice was very welcome. We chatted to Hoera and promised her a decision on whether to go on in the morning.