Tramping the Routeburn Track

I woke to the alarm at 5:45am feeling very tired and groggy. I felt like I had just gone to sleep. I needed more sleep, but unfortunately there was no time to get it now. I got up, had a shower, scoffed down some breakfast and headed to the reception desk to check out and meet my bus.

Bruce our driver was a chatty man and I felt sorry that he got stuck with me as I just couldn’t find my words that morning. The body was aching and my brain was not functioning yet. We left Te Anau and picked up some other people along the way, but none of them were going to The Divide, the start of the Routeburn track for me today.

We stopped to let a lady out who lives at Glades House on Milford, she was going to trek over the Dove Pass which we had spotted while on the Milford Track a few days ago, crazy if you ask me but she was obviously an experienced hiker. There was another girl from Poland and one from the Netherlands, they were nice to chat to.

Day 1 – Walk to Mackenzie Hut, 12km

It was pouring rain when they dropped me at The Divide, so I shuffled under the shelter to get my wet weather gear out and convinced another hiker to stand in the rain and take my photo at the start.



The first thing I noticed, aside from the torrential rain, was the technical trail and how steep it was. Underfoot was very rocky and slippery so moving was quite slow on my already tired legs. I’m sure there would have been some beautiful views that day as I spent a lot of it above the treelike, but unfortunately the clouds were blocking the view. I stayed positive and added the uphill side trip to Summit Walk, however the rain just got heavier and the wind picked up so I didn’t stay at the top for very long.




The walk was very tough this day, but so beautiful. The rainforest was a beautiful green colour and the rocks underneath my feet were all the colours of the rainbow. I noticed because I was looking down a lot, trying to make sure that I didn’t trip over.



I passed a hut within the first few kms and there was a little lake just next to it which looked very pretty. There was nobody around to chat with so I kept moving.



I went past several streams and waterfalls, and some very wet sections of the trail. In some parts there was water gushing over the path and you had no choice but to step into and through the water. I had given up trying to keep my socks dry and trudged through making it fun by splashing about. How old am i again? ha ha




There was also a giant worm on my trail, check it out – even looks big next to my size 8 trail shoes!! (below)


Eventually I came to a large waterfall that had a detour for flood’ sign, however I decided to take the trail next the waterfall and chance it. As I was about to start a young girl came out smiling and laughing in front of me, we started chatting and she said that I should definitely go past the waterfall. She said she got soaked but it was the most fun she’d had in ages. So off I went being very careful with my footing and she was right. I was giggling like a school girl and had so much fun getting soaked and cried with happiness, life was good. The photo below does not do it any justice but it was a moment in time I will never forget.



I’m so glad I had gone that way and not chickened out and taken the detour, a risk that paid off thankfully.

I passed a lot of hikers going the opposite way on this trip yet somehow felt more alone than ever, which made me sad at first, and then brave. The trekking was quite hard through this section as there were lots of technical slippery sections to brake your ankles or knees on, but it was like a scene from a movie or postcard. Breathtaking.

LaurenHaileyLumia_20150228_12_40_02_Pro LaurenHaileyLumia_20150228_12_40_07_Pro


I caught up to a lady called Jane who was from Perth and she was going even slower than I was, being very careful. We also saw a (rude) lady come flying past us without responding to a word we said, which was very strange as most people on the trail at least say ‘hi’ and most stop to have a chat and ask you about your journey. Oh well, her loss.

Eventually I got to Lake Mackenzie (pictured below) and I was very glad to see it as I had been getting colder and colder despite my efforts to speed up. My hands were freezing inside my wet gloves.



I scored a bed upstairs and chatted to Jane as she arrived just behind me. I removed my wet gear and hung some inside the hut and some outside under the awning. The dry clothes felt amazing. I grabbed some food and went downstairs to fuel the body and score a nice spot near the fire to thaw out. My stomach had been grumbling on the trail too, but it was too wet to stop and put my pack down so I had my late lunch at the hut when I got there.

I chatted to some really nice ladies who were travelling in the opposite direction to me. I also got chatting to Marg and Ken from Canada who were lovely. Marg and I ended up chatting for hours, then I took some time to catch up on my journal.

Dinner was good and filled the belly very nicely, along with the red wine….. such a nice luxury to have and it would send me right off to sleep later. In fact, I missed the ranger talk this night as I was really starting to feel exhausted, the body was starting to show signs on tiredness and I thought an early night with some extra sleep would be perfect. My calves felt like they were on fire just to touch them and my body had chafe in places it never had before.

The next day was another tough 11+km  of mostly uphill so it was nighty night for me.

Day 2 – Walk to Falls Hut, 11.3km

I woke many times during the night, once for a toilet trip and many due to snoring Suzie above me. Somehow I had developed a knack for choosing beds below snoring people, great!

As soon as it got light I was up and I realised that I had not once yet used an alarm during my treks, funny that. It was raining again and very cloudy which meant visibility would be poor and probably no views for this most picturesque section of the trail. Oh well, I would find the beauty in whatever came my way.

I said goodbye to the lake and gathered all of my belongings. I said farewell to my friends and we exchanged contact emails with the promise to keep in touch and to visit if we were ever in the others country, maybe one day I should visit Canada.



Todays trek started with a large hill through what the girls had called the ‘Fairy Garden’ and that’s exactly what it looked like. It was beautiful and green and felt somehow magical.



On the way up the first hill the views back down to the lake weren’t too bad, see below.




And of course another shameless selfie below, getting soaked and still smiling.



The trail was not as technical as the previous day. The trail wound up and around the mountain and I came across many runners and walkers going the opposite direction, all of them stopping to exchange a few words and encouragements.







A man called Bernard came blazing up from behind me and we chatted a while. He told me there was a side trail coming up called Conical Hill which was about a 1 hour return trip up a hill and back. Thankfully we had somewhere to drop our packs, Saddle Hut, and then we made our way up the hill into the clouds. I’m so glad that we made the side trip as the views were spectacular!

The hidden lake was eerily beautiful amidst the mountains and the grey sky, beautiful. The weather was incredibly windy at the top of the hill (I almost got blown over a few times) and the trail was very steep and slippery, but I struggled up feeling very thankful to be there.





There was even snow on some of the peaks of the mountains so that gives you an idea of how cold it was in this place, although I kept pretty warm on this day and thankfully did not get too wet. It was grey but I was smiling from ear to ear. Being in this beautiful place is hard to describe and the emotions you feel sometimes do not have words.




It was a slow trip back down the mountain and into the valley. I ran into Jane at the hut and a few other people from Melbourne. I made use of the toilet back at the hut and got some food and water into me. Bernard had said farewell and trekked on ahead of me as he had a longer journey ahead of him than I did, and I was thankful for the silence again.

The views along the next section were spectacular. The lake, a huge waterfall that went down the valley and followed the path next to me was beautiful. I can see how this route had become so popular, as it has more view points than Milford.






I went down the last rocky section past a small waterfall (pictured above) and onto the hut (pictured below). I got some dry clothes on to warm up and had a ‘trail shower’. I felt very refreshed and warm after that, but the legs were still struggling.




I then gobbled down my food in the kitchen/dining hut (pictured below) and took a seat next to the window which looked out over the valley below, the route we would be taking on the final day of the trek. I ate so much of my food, I had been starving again and didn’t stop for long to eat, just kept moving to keep warm.



I sat and chatted with Tina from Germany (left most in below photo), Asheem from the USA and Jane who i’d previously met and chatted with (far right in below photo) and played cards.

We were all travelling solo and we got on really well. We even won a game that night which was run by the ranger. You had to guess as many of the languages written on the quilt (second picture below) and we ended up with more than anybody else so we got the chocolate bar. Jane and myself had already gone to bed by the time they had chosen the winner, so Tina brought us some chocolate to have in bed and the rest was shared around to the other hikers.




My dinner was a dehydrated chicken tikka masala and it wasn’t too bad. I washed it down with the last of my wine and felt very sleepy. My bunk had a view of the valley (pictured below) so I put it to good use and then hit the sack. Only one more day to go.


Day 3 – Walk to end of Routeburn Track, 9km

I woke feeling quite sad as it would be my last day trekking. But the smile soon grew on my face when I realised that a long hot shower and decent food would be on the agenda for tonight. I’d woken to the usual hustling of people inside the hut and felt like I’d actually got a decent amount of sleep the night before. I was restless during the night but there was no sign of a snoring person underneath me. Finally!!

I has breakfast (horrible dehydrated, powdery scrambled eggs that made me want to vomit!) with Jane and Asheem while Tina was still sleeping. I had a black coffee which I’d grown accustomed to but didn’t really enjoy. I was craving milk. That’s right, fresh, delicious milk and made a mental note to pick some up when I got back into town. Asheem was heading the opposite direction to the rest of us girls, and both Jane & Tina were on an earlier bus than I was so I had plenty of time up my sleeve.

I packed up my things in the top bunk and couldn’t believe that I had been living out of this pack for the past week. Pretty awesome to think that everything you need you can carry was in one backpack.

And it was still raining so on with the wet weather gear (again!). I stood on the balcony (pictured above) and took in one last mental image of the view into the valley and chatted to some other hikers making their way out onto the trail too.




There were some huge boulders going down the trail today and it was very slippery and wet. As like the other days I stopped to take in the views a few times and they did not disappoint.




I got to Routeburn flats (pictured below) within 30 minutes and the time on the board had said 1 hour, so I must have been moving well again. I felt pretty cold so I went fast to try and keep warm. The rain was drizzling so I didn’t stop to take too many pictures.






These huge boulders were scattered along the waterways and the one pictured below is about 2 storeys in height!!




I crossed a few bridges and the running water sounds filled the air all morning. Speak of water, at one stage I was busting to go to the toilet and was getting worried that I might have to remove my gear and make a side trip into the bush, but just as I was about to get desperate there in front of me was a toilet. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was out there in the middle of nowhere, no hut in sight, just a toilet all by itself in the woods. Perfect placement if you asked me as I was bursting!






I slowed down for the last section as I had plenty of time and wanted to spend as much of it on the trail as possible, even though my legs were aching. How often would I get to do this, hardly ever, so I was going to soak it up for all it was worth.






Most of the days journey was downhill and the poles came in super handy again, they had been a lifesaver really. I don’t think my legs would have coped at all if I did not have them. And I finally made it to the end of the trail (pictured below) and it sure did put a smile on my face.


There was a little shelter for me to sit and wait for my bus, so I chatted to other hikers who were doing the same. It was just after midday when I arrived. I finished off the rest of my food (which wasn’t very much) and chatted to 2 girls from Israel and 2 guys from Canada. They made the time pass quickly and before I knew it my 2pm bus pick up had arrived.



The bus trip back to Queenstown included a short stop in Glenorchy for people to grab a quick drink/food if needed. But i was feeling so exhausted that I stayed in the bus and had a power nap. Not that it did much good as 2 noisey americans got on the bus and talked at the top of their lungs!! Seriously, they could see that I was trying to sleep too. Just rude! ha ha

We got back on the road after about 20 minutes and soon I was back in Queenstown where I had a 10 minute walk to my hotel (Nomads Hostel). I was booked into a ‘King Room’ and it was lovely, had a balcony and all. The shower was heaven! I’m not sure how long I stayed in there but it was divine!

After wallowing in the shower for what seemed like an eternity I dressed in some non-trekking style warm clothes and headed out the door for some real soon and some milk. I took myself to Patagonia and had a chocolate milkshake with cookies and cream then took myself across to the pub (view from the pub at dinner below) and had Beef Wellington, which I also washed down with 2 pints of beer. The beer went straight to my head (ha ha) and the food was amazing!



It had been a very busy and strenuous couple of weeks and it was starting to hit me physically. I felt very tired after dinner so I headed back to the hotel and packed my gear up ready for my flight home the next day. Once packed I put on my pj’s and watched some telly while catching up on writing my journal.

I was very much looking forward to going home and seeing my beautiful family and friends, but the misty mountains have left me wanting more and more, so i will be back one day soon and hopefully with the hubby this time.

Wishing you safe travels 🙂

Tramping the Milford Track

I’m not sure what I wast thinking when I organised my New Zealand trip all those many months ago, but apparently I thought all I needed were 2 days rest after the marathon before my legs would be recovered enough to walk the Milford Track Unguided. I was wrong.

And what is Tramping I hear you say? It’s the New Zealand word for trekking.

So on Tuesday 24th February 2015 I woke up at 5.30am, had a light breakfast (banana & coffee) and packed all my gear into my backpack and suitcase. The suitcase had all the things I would not need on the trail, and luckily I could store it at the hostel for the week I would be tramping. Although i was a little worried about how secure the storage room would be as they gave the key away to any guests without much questioning. I stored the suitcase and gathered my things. I put on my backpack and it didn’t feel too bad (yet!) then headed outside to meet my bus. It had been raining, the first rain I had seen in my time in New Zealand, so I’d been pretty lucky so far. I headed to the Kiwi Discovery store where Sarah took our names and made sure we got onto the right buses. i chatted to a couple from the UK and another gentleman, they were heading to Milford Sound for a cruise, it seemed I was the only hiker getting on this bus. The bus left and we picked up some other people from different hotels, but none of the people who got in had big packs like mine so I figured I was the only hiker 😦

I was feeling a little nervous about doing this trip solo, but the company I booked with assured me that the track was very well signposted and i would be very safe. So I tried to remove the negative thoughts from my mind and started to get really excited about the adventure ahead. It had been a dream of mine for a long time to walk the Milford Track and now I was finally on my way!!

The bus went past Frankton and Fairlight where the old steam train used to travel, and the drive gave us great commentary on the local area and it’s history. It was very cloudy the whole way, but we didn’t get any more rain. It was mesmerizing to look out the window and see the ever changing landscape that surrounded us. The 2 hour journey went relatively quickly and i was dropped off in Te Anau Terminal where I had second breakfast of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash brown and a real coffee. It would be a while before I got to have food like this again so I made the most of it. I finished up my breakfast and wandered around the tourist shop although i did not want to buy anything or it meant I had to carry it for the next week!

Once I had wasted some time at the Terminal I began my slow walk to the Department of Conservation (DOC) Hut where I had to collect my Hut tickets and meet my next bus for the trip to Te Anau Downs. It took me about 15-20 minutes to walk there, a beautiful walk beside the lake, and i stopped to watch sea planes and boats going about their day. My pack felt awfully heavy and i wondered if there was anything that I could part with permanently, but unfortunately there was not so I just had to grin and bear it. I arrived at the DOC and the lady behind the counter was very helpful, she also recommended I buy their $9 heavy-duty water-proof plastic bag to put inside my pack to protect my sleeping bags and clothing, and after having heard that the Milford gets 300 days of rainfall per year I decided to take her up on that offer. There would be nothing worse than getting a wet sleeping bag or having no dry clothes!

I wandered around the lake and took a few photos, visited the ladies room and then sat down to re-pack my bag with the new heavy-duty plastic lining bag. When I finished that I had a snack and caught up with writing this journal. I met another hiker called Daniel who would be tramping Milford at the same time as me and he offered me a lift to the ferry instead of the bus, and of course i declined this offer (how stupid to you think I am Mum? ha ha). I also met a another gentleman called Lee who had just come from the Keplar track and I quizzed him on what it was like and a thousand other hiking questions.

I still had another 1.5 hrs to kill and I was getting very bored, but eventually more hikers came along to wait for the bus and we all got chatting about where we were from and the destinations we were headed for. 5 of the others were heading for the same place as me and it was great to chat to them and feel like I wasn’t going to be alone out there. The bus pulled up right on time and we made the 25 minute journey to Te Anau Downs to meet the ferry.

Te Anau Downs

Once onboard the ferry I met a lovely young couple Amanda and Chris, Chris’s whole family (it seemed) were travelling the Milford with them too. I also ran into Daniel who I met earlier at the DOC and I introduced him to my new friends. We all chatted happily as the excitement rose the closer we got to end of the ferry trip.

Ferry to start of Milford Track


Day 1 – Walk to Clinton Hut, 5km, 1-1.5 hrs

The ferry trip took about an hour and the unguided walkers (us) were allowed off the boat before the guided walkers (woohoo). Of course we all stopped and got photos next to the sign at the start of the track (below) and then headed on our way through the trees. Today’s walk was only very short compared to the rest, a nice way to ease ourselves into the journey.

Start of the Milford Track

Milford Track


It was about this point that I felt the full weight of my pack and starting to get worried about whether or not i would be able to carry it for the whole week. I adjusted the straps and moved it around until it felt a bit better then kept moving on my way. I walked and chatted with Amanda and Daniel, and Chris’ parents and we took lots of photos, but most of mine all look the same!

Milford Track 2


We reached our first bridge and river crossing, which was just after the guided walkers hut and it was much more solid than I had been anticipating, thank goodness!

First river crossing on the Milford Track


We laughed a lot and chatted about selfie sticks and other happy travels and we hung out for a short break on the pebbly beach we came across (below). The water was freezing but that didn’t stop a few people fro putting there feet in. We noticed how bad the sandflies were and applied more and more repellent to help combat the enemy.

Amanda and I on the beach


We also made another side trip to the Wetland boardwalk which was very educational, but I didn’t get any good pictures here. I also ran into a lovely man from Tokyo who had run the 30km Shotover race a couple of days before, and we chatted about the course and how we both went. I thought it was amazing that he had the same idea to do Milford too.

After months of planning I was finally walking the Milford Track – how exciting!!

The next stop was Clinton Hut (below) which would be our place of rest for the night. There were 3 main buildings, 1 kitchen and dining area, and 2 huts with bunk beds that slept about 20 people in each. I chose the first one on the left and as I’d got in last I was left with the top bunk right next to the door. It was right next to a window (with no curtain) and the door, but it would have to do.

Clinton Hut

After setting up my bedding arrangements I put on some warmer clothes and grabbed my dinner supplies. We then met the delightful Ranger Ross, a very tall skinny man who had been semi-retired and doing this job for over 11 years. He looked just how you picture a bush range to look. Ross took us on a Nature Walk and it was fantastic!! I won’t go into detail here as I’d hate to give away his secrets, but make sure you do the Nature walk with Ross if you’re ever on the Milford Track, and if you take him a bottle of Scotch he will be your friend forever!!

At about 5.30pm I headed over to the kitchen dining hut (far right building in above pic) and prepared my dehydrated spaghetti bolognese (below), and I must say that it didn’t taste too bad. I mean, it wasn’t great but it would do. It had to.

Rehydrated dinner - spaghetti

It was pretty early to be having dinner but I was quite hungry and tired from the days journey. I had my dinner with Lee, Daniel and 3 veterinarians from Canada who had actually packed and carried red wine with them and they offered to me to have with my dinner. I was very tempted, but could not bring myself to drink what they had carried in by themselves. I also made a mental note to pack wine on my next hiking trip.

As soon as we started to lose light i decided to hit the hay, I was feeling pooped after getting up at 5.30am that morning. I put in my ear plugs and got as comfortable as i could, but it turned out to be a very sleepless night.

Day 2 – Walk to Mintaro Hut, 16.5km

After a restless night I got up to go to the bathroom and when I got back to my bunk I decided to grab all my belongings and head to the main kitchen hut for breakfast and to get my pack organised. I didn’t want to be nosey rustling around in my bag in the hut.

Once I got my gear organised I gave myself a trail shower (cleansing wipes, face washer and water style) and got into some clean clothes. I had a breakfast bar, black coffee and a banana.  It had rained a lot the night before so we were expecting a wet day.

I saw a Kia (see picture below)) as I set off half way through the group so that I had people in front and behind me. The people in front clear all the spiders away and the people behind will find me if anything happens or I get hurt. That was my philosophy.

Kia bird


My bag hurt my shoulders from the moment I out it on, but I adjusted the straps a few times and it started to feel better. Actually it didn’t feel better, but it didn’t seem to get any worse. I walked casually along the trail and could feel my calves burning even though this section was relatively flat. It might be a tough day….

Ranger ross has told us to keep an eye out along the trail for the red telephone box that was inside the tree (see picture below) and I managed to spot it even though it was off the trail a little and tucked away hiding. It’s weird to think that they used to have a phone line along this trail, but it would have been very helpful to them before all the modern day technology that we have today.

Telephone Box in tree


We crossed small bridges and lots of rocky areas. It rained gently for the first half of the walk which meant that there were lots of waterfalls surrounding the valley we walked through.

Trail thru the valley


I have never walked alone so much. I cried, I sang and I took in all of the surroundings of the area. It felt surreal being out there in the middle of nowhere with all your belongings on your back, everything you needed right there with you. I came to a calm state and thankfully began to feel very relaxed despite the cold, wet conditions.

I went to the hidden lake (see pictures below), The Prairie and stopped for morning tea at the Hraire Hut near the river. The river was crystal clear and you could see the large fish swimming down the stream unaware of us looming overhead. The rain had eased a little and a cheeky little finch came down to say ‘hi’.

The pictures I took below were my first ever try at using a selfie stick! ha ha

View thru valley near hidden lake

Hidden Lake


I saw lots of birds along the trail, they were not scared of me much at all and it was really lovely being so close to these birds out in the wild.

Bird on track


The mountains around me were covered in clouds and fog so I was’t able to see the mountain tops.

Crossing a slipway - do not stop

View to St Quintin Falls



I walked using my poles and felt some discomfort/chaffing on my left hip so kept adjusting the straps on my bags to ease the pain. I realised that my straps kept coming loose so I made a mental note to keep adjusting them and try to make them stick in the same spot my tying them close to the top, but that didn’t seem to work which was annoying.

I kept walking and it got steeper and steeper. My calves were really hurting by now and the hills were not helping. I kept plodding on and couldn’t help but smile being in such a beautiful place. I remember thinking how lovely it would be to run in this area and considered ditching my pack for a while to run ahead on the track and back, but I didn’t really feel like I had the energy and my legs may have gotten angrier with me.

As I was going up the last hill I ran into 2 Rangers who were heading out to do some repair work to the track. We chatted a little and then parted as I kept moving up the hill towards the next hut. I passed the turn off for the Guided walkers hut and heard a helicopter taking off in the clearing not far from the trail. It sounded weird hearing something so mechanical in the middle of nowhere, but also reassuring that they could get to us if it was needed.

The last hill was very steep and it took all my energy and the last of my strength to get there. But I ended up getting to the Mintaro Hut (see pictures below) with only 3 people ahead of me. This was great news as it meant I had a better choice for a bed this time, woohoo!!

Mintaro Hut

Mintaro Hut 2


There were 3 rooms to choose from, so i chose the one that did not have my snoring friend from the night before and prayed that the 2 guys already in this room would be non-snorers. I sat down and got my gear organised, changed into some warmer clothes and made myself a hot chocolate. I chatted to lots of other hikers as they came in and realised that I’d just about met everyone in our group now. There were only 2 people that seemed to get on everyone else’s nerves, an American couple who were loud and very inconsiderate of others when it came to all matters.

The guys got the fire cranking as I put on more layers of clothes and wrote in my journal beside the fire to warm up. I spent the afternoon resting and recovering as the next day would be our biggest climb up to the Pass and then a huge descent into the valley to the next hut. We all hoped the weather would clear for tomorrow’s hike which was supposed to be the most beautiful part of the trail.

The Ranger gave us a talk at 7:30pm but it was nothing like Ross. This guy was a young English lad from the UK who had been here for 6 months. I sat and chatted to a couple from Israel, they were lovely and taught me how to play an Israeli game called Yanniv. We had some others join us and Bar taught me to play another game called Shithead. There were a lot of laughs and it passed the time quickly. Some of the hikers decided to walk up to the Pass late in the afternoon when the sun came out but I decided to keep resting the legs and pray for good weather the next day.

For dinner I had dehydrated Teriyaki Beef and I added some rice to bulk it up a little as the meal the night before had not really been enough. I was so glad to have bought the rice as a back up if I got hungry. I ate my 2 carrots raw as i couldn’t be bothered cooking them and after dinner I read through a large wooden book kept in the hut and learnt more about the Milford track.

Amanda came and asked me if I’d like to play cards with her family so I went over to join them, apparently they were quite competitive and I was to expect a tough game. We had so much fun!! It was a real hoot playing cards with the Maclean family that night and the title of the game was very fitting, Scum! ha ha

Before bed I went to visit the ladies and when I looked up at the sky it was clear as ever and filled with thousands and thousands of stars. It was breathtaking. I’m not sure how long I stood there for but it was something I’ll never forget. Beautiful.

Day 3 – Walk to Dumpling Hut, 14km

I don’t think I got much sleep during the night, but I think I did get more than the night before which was something. When the early birds in my room got up I decided it was time to rise and shine too. I had my ‘trail’ shower and got into some clean clothes and then had some breakfast, the same as the day before. I was a little jealous of the hot breakfasts that people around me were having and made a mental note to take something similar for the next hike.

Todays hike would be the toughest one and so I ate a little more than most mornings. I got my pack on and headed for the trail with only a few hikes in front of me. I was feeling pretty tired but was happy to see the sky was clearing and hoped it would be even brighter when we got up to the pass. The rainforest was green and vibrant and the birds were singing all along the trail.



I caught up to a Canadian couple I had met that morning while having breakfasting hiked with them for the next section. We also ended up hiking with couple from Canberra (Penny and ?) who were experts on the trail and really great conversation. The time flew by having their company and before we knew it we were at the Mackinnon Pass.



It’s hard to describe how I felt up there being so high and surrounded by beautiful mountains. The endless views and blue sky really took my words away. I took a lot of photos up here and they don’t do it any justice.

We were so lucky that the weather had cleared and I honestly felt blessed just standing there.  Check it out below












I had a quick snack while I was at the top here too and made sure I had plenty of water as I had;’t really f=drunk enough the day before and felt a bit dehydrated when I woke that morning. I put my pack back on and climbed up another section to the highest point of the trail.




The little pockets of water on the tops of the pass were still and reflected gorgeous mountain tops in them. There were some snow capped peaks, including Mount Elliott. This was such incredible place, I felt on top of the world – literally!

I stopped at a hut on top of the mountain and made a cup of black coffee and had some more snacks. we used the ‘Loo with a view’ (see below picture) which looked back down towards the valley where we had walked that morning and the previous day. Amazing!



The temperature had dropped up here so I applied some more layers, I put on some gloves and my beanie too. But I ended up removing them only a little while down the trail as it got warm and we were exposed to the sun for most of the rest of the hike that day. I hiked by myself for the rest of the day, over taking a few people along the way. i enjoyed the quiet time.




I went on a swimming bridge over the Clinton River and eventually got to the Roaring Burn (see pictures below), a large waterfall that was really loud and powerful (as the name suggests). I walked down some wooden steps on the side of the mountain beside the waterfall and it was gorgeous!




Eventually we got to a cluster of huts where there was a day shelter for us to use and I ran into Seth who had just got back from the Sutherland Falls. This was an out and back section and a chance to walk without my pack!! I gladly dropped my pack and had some food and water, then made my way out the door towards the trail for the Sutherland Falls. It was so nice not to be wearing my pack that I decided to run this section and it felt amazing to be moving with a but more speed again.



I cruised along the trail with my poles all the way to the falls and the spray at the bottom of the falls was very refreshing after the short run. Check out the falls pictured below.



I sat on the rocks for a while and took in the view then got up and ran my way back to the shelter to collect my pack. I saw lots of other hikers on my way back and they nick named me Speedy Gonzales – that was a first! ha ha

When I got back to the shelter I didn’t waste any time. I grabbed some water and put on my pack heading for the next hut which was apparently only an hour away, but I thought I could get there quicker. Challenge accepted. I did it in 40 minutes. It was a lovely downhill section, very rocky and rainforest and beautiful.

I dumped my pack in the first hut with a nice couple who I hadn’t roomed with before and they told me of their hikes on other mountains all over New Zealand. I certainly was learning a lot this trip and already wanted to come back and do more.



As I chatted to them I notice my calves were aching. They actually felt bruised all over and were sore to touch. I think they were even swollen. Not good. The couple mentioned a nearby waterhole (see below pictures) so I decided to pout on my shorts and head down to give my legs a dip in the cold (freezing) water to help ease the muscles.





My legs felt so much better after the dip, it was heaven. The water had been bitterly cold, but I lasted about 3 minutes before it got too much. Some people actually went all in and i’m not sure how they did it.

Tonight was our last night on the trail and we had a 6 hour walk ahead of us tomorrow. I decided to have a nap and then hopefully wake refreshed and ready to make a plan for the next day.

Unfortunately the nap didn’t happen but I did rest the eyes for about half an hour before I got up and headed to the kitchen/ dining hut to write my journal and get ready for dinner. On the menu tonight was dehydrated Pasta Vegetariano and although I picked out a lot of the ingredients it was’t too bad.

After dinner Ranger Jen gave us the run down and then took us down to the swimming hole for a feeding of the eels. She fed them a mixture of tuna and water, and about 3-4 large eels came out to take advantage. they were pretty huge and ugly. One of them tried to eat the guys GoPro! I found out that eels can live to about 100 years old, who knew!

The sand flies were really bad here so i didn’t stay down at the water for longhand I headed up to the Dumpling Hut to have a ‘trail’ shower and get ready for bed. I planned to have an early night as my body was feeling exhausted and sore all over. Thankfully there were no snorers that night, just the noise (annoying) American couple I mentioned earlier.

Day 4 – Walk to Sandfly Point, 18km

It sounded like everybody in my room got up at 5am and decided to make as much noise as possible. So annoying. But I thought if you can’t beat them, join them! With that i got up and headed to the kitchen for some breakfast, making sure that I ate most of my food so al I had to carry were a few snacks and lunch for the day.

I had my ‘trail’ shower and when I got back to the room everybody was up and packing their bags. It was supposed to rain that day so we readied ourselves for a wet trip, making sure our clothes and belongings wouldn’t get wet.

I headed out about halfway through the pack again, some slower walkers had got up super early as we had to be at our ferry by 2pm and they knew they would take longer than some of us faster walkers. I was feeling very tired, drained, sore and saddened to know that it was my last day on the Milford Track. But so happy to have made it this far and been lucky enough for the gorgeous weather over Mackinnon Pass.

It was long before I overtook some hikers in front of me and I even caught up to the 2 guys speaking to the night before (the speedsters Scotty & Mark) when they stopped to adjust their packs. They were walking a little faster than I would have liked but they were really great company and I spent the rest of the day hiking with them. They had met in the UK but Scotty was originally from NZ and Mark from Bermuda. They had taken a year off to go travelling, lucky buggers!!

The weather was warm so we removed our rain jackets and hiked past rivers, waterfalls and rainforests. The scenes were like something out of a movie, gorgeous!





We stopped at some falls and checked out Bell Rock, it was actually a hollow rock that you could crawl under and stand up inside, very cool. The water was so clear too and check out the luggage under my eyes (below).






I remember Mark accidentally slipped down some stairs at one point and poked me in the eye. It hurt a little and he felt awful, but it was so funny! I’m glad we could laugh it off and it had’t been worse.

We headed back out on the trail animist of today’s walk was through rainforest. there were a few beach sections and some peaks in the distance too. We were starting to get really hungry and were looking for a good spot to stop and eat, but nothing looked suitable and we didn’t want to block the trail. After about another 30-40 minutes we found a rest area and got stuck into some lunch and chocolate. I think the trail would have been very lonely without there company, such a nice couple (pictured below).



Many other hikers we had overtaken caught up to us again here and we all chatted about how wonderful an experience we had been having, and how lucky we had been with the weather.

Eventually we got our packs on and were moving at a pretty speedy pace, but I had to make sure I got on the 2pm ferry or I would miss my connecting cruise on the Milford Sound.

We ended up making it to Sandfly Point with plenty of time to spare and Mark decided go for a swim after a lot of heckling from Scotty and myself (ha ha). There was a little hut for us to escape from the Sandlies and I finished off the food in my pack here, plus got some water into me and filled up my bottles.




We all had our photos taken next to the famous sign (below) and then boarded our ferry back to Milford terminal only 20 mins away.


We got to the cruise terminal and all said our farewells. It was sad to be leaving the group and the trail but I was happy to be back in civilisation (I think). I found a powerpoint and charged my mobile phone at the terminal so I could get some photos on the Milford Sound cruise, the battery had died minutes before so it was perfect timing!


I collected my cruise ticket and Daniel bought a ticket to come and join me on the cruise. When we boarded the boat we were so excited to be offered free coffee and tea. We had not had this luxury for a week and I think I had 4 cups of the stuff. The lady even offered us a hot chocolate which was normally reserved for the staff, it was delicious!!

The clouds, fog and light rain had set in again but it didn’t matter. The Milford Sound was gorgeous with waterfalls all around us. I saw the Mitre Peak who h was enormous and near one of the fishing boats we saw a group of Albatros birds, they were huge and glided through the air behind the fishing boat hoping for a feed.

We saw seals taking a nap on the rocks in several spots around the sound and the highlight was the pod of 20+ dolphins that swam right up next to our boat. Dolphins are my most favourite animal (aside from dogs) and one of the dolphins swam next the bow right underneath me for what seemed like an eternity. He was almost 4 metres long ad so graceful getting his free ride at the front of the boat. It really took my breath away, something that had happened so many times of this trip.

On the way back to the terminal our boat went under a waterfall and most people on the deck got soaked, it was hilarious! I chatted to a lovely couple from Denmark (I wished I’d gotten their contact details) and they took some photos for me with my camera too. Check out my photos below.













We got back to the terminal and ran to meet our connecting bus which would take up back to Te Anau. What an incredible day it had been!

I sat in the front with the driver to avoid motion sickness and was thankful that I had as the road was very twisty and there were lots of turns going up and over and won the hills. Daniel actually asked to driver to slow down a little, as we learned he had been in bad bus crash during a trip in Argentina and he had broken his back. This was actually his first trip hiking since the accident. Poor guy, sounds like he’d had a rough time.

We stopped at the start of a tunnel which went through the mountain, it’s a one way tunnel that runs for 1.5km and when it was built they had to dig and carry everything out by hand. It would have taken years!!




A few of the people from our hike were on the bus as they had done cruises with other companies, so it was nice to see them again too. I started to get veery sleepy. We dropped of people at different stops and I was the last stop at the Te Anau Caravan Park. It was now 7pm and I was feeling utterly exhausted.

I checked into the place and got the key to my single room, I would have to share a bathroom and kitchen but that would have to wait. I dumped my pack and headed into town to do some shopping for my next Trek which started tomorrow. It took 20 minutes to walk into town and I went to the supermarket where I got all my supplies for the next journey ahead. I tried to carry lighter and smarter than last time and I think it worked.

On the way back to the caravan park I stopped and got fish and chips for dinner, followed by ice cream dessert. The ice cream was so good as I had been craving milk. After scoffing those down I gathered my shopping and headed back to the caravan park. It started to sprinkle with rain so I quickened my step and it was pouring by the time I got back to my room at 9pm. I still had to do my washing, dry it and pack for tomorrow, so it was going to be a late night.

I got all my dirty clothes and headed for the laundry. I did a load of washing and stuck it in the dryer hoping it would not ruin the clothes. i chatted to an older man & his young son who were holidaying and hiking together, they were from the US. It was great chatting to them to pass the time and I eventually got back to my room at about 10:15pm.

By now I was having trouble keeping my eyes open but I had to pack. So I took a swig from the bottle of wine I’d just bought and planned to take the rest with me on the next trek. I would be pouring it into a much smaller light-weight container though. I’d been so jealous of the people on the Milford Trek who had taken wine and I thought I deserved it after all the hard work i had done over the past 2 weeks.

Finally I packed my gear and hit the hay, I was very thankful to have had such a wonderful, beautiful, amazing, breathtaking trip the past 4 days and was getting excited about my next adventure on the Routeburn Track. I dozed off to sleep as the sound of the man snoring in the room next to me carried through the walls…..

Race Report: Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon

It’s here! Last night I finally got around to finishing my race report from the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon in New Zealand which is almost a month ago now!! This race was like nothing I have ever attempted before, so grab a cuppa and get comfortable because it’s a long one.

They day before the race I collected my race pack from the Rydges hotel which was also the hotel where i was staying. I got there at the start of the rego time and the room was already buzzing with people getting their gear checks done. A lovely kiwi lady checked all my gear and gave me my race kit which included a race t-shirt, race bib, timing strap for my ankle, and some sponsor brochures. I chatted to a few other runners and then headed back up to my room to re-pack my things into my race pack ready for the next morning. Having picked up my gear i started to get nervous and some doubts crept into my mind. It always happen to me before a race and luckily I was able to shut out the negative thoughts quickly as i went over my race plan and goals.

My race plan was to finish, well actually my initial race plan had been to ‘try not to die’, but I revised it and thought that a finish would be super. The course had over 2,300m of elevation which meant it was the hilliest marathon I have ever attempted. There were 3 main peaks to conquer and I’d been staring at the elevation chart for months, as it was on display at my desk at work. Seeing the chart on a regular basis helps me to get to know the course a little better, especially when you don’t have the option to do any training on the course. Looking at it scared me a lot, but I do love a challenge! A friend of mine had taken just over 7 hours to complete the course in 2014 and I thought that seemed like a reasonable time to aim for (boy was i wrong, ha ha).

I spent the day resting my legs which included reading a book by the lake for a few hours, going for a dip in the hotel pool & chilling out watching tv in my room. James (from Sydney Striders) and I caught up in the afternoon and had dinner at a quaint little restaurant called Cow in town that was highly recommended. It took us a while to find it as it’s hidden up an alley way. We both had garlic bread and spaghetti bolognese, good carbohydrate loading food. James had not completed his gear check yet so after dinner he went to get his gear while I went to the hotel and stalled the organisers till James could arrive. He got his gear checked and we went for a cheeky beverage at the bar as it was too early to crash. I had a peach cider (which would later prove to be a bad choice!). We chatted about the upcoming race and past trips James had done around the world with rogaining and running, he has done so much and achieved many great feats in his life so far. I was very impressed (and jealous, more to add to the wish list). We finish our drinks and organised to meet at the bus departure point the next morning.

As i headed up to my room I felt a sense of calm and confidence that would stay with me and keep me strong the next day. I hadn’t slept very well for the past week which always happens when i’m away from home. I had visited Auckland for 3 days, plus had a side trip to Christchurch for the Foo Fighters concert (which was awesome!!) and had arrived in Queenstown with 2 days of planned rest before the race. And thankfully I got a good sleep that night (which is rare before a race) so i woke feeling ready to go.

When I got up I had some breakfast (honey on bread and a banana), took a shower and got dressed ready to race. I was wearing my Brooks Adrenaline Trail shoes, BSC compression tights (long) and my Running Wild t-shirt, as it’s the most comfortable running shirt I own (you don’t want something that rubs or is uncomfortable when you know you’re going to be out there a long time). I also had my Salomon S-Lab 12 Hydration Back pack and my fuel for the day would be water (only carried 1L as plenty of aid stations on the course), SIS gels (Orange & Tropical flavor) & Shotz mixed with water in my front 2 flasks (for electrolytes). I have been using this combination with good results for the past year or so, and I wasn’t going to change anything now. I also packed a bag for the finish with some dry clothes and thongs to change into, plus a large feather down jacket in case it got cold.

Once I was ready I headed down to the Queenstown Rafting store where the bus was collecting us at 6.15am, and within a few minutes James turned up and we nervously chatted about our race plans. We managed to score a seat on the first bus out of town which meant that we would also be first in line for the toilets at the start point, score!!

The bus trip to the start line was an experience in itself. Once we got off the main road it was all single fire trail to the start area in Skippers Canyon. The driver was probably going a little too fast for my liking but I guessed that he drove this route a lot so was confident and knew where he was going. I felt a bit of motion sickness halfway through the journey, so there was some very deep breathing took place, especially when you looked out the window and there was a massive (gigantic) drop right next to the bus and i tried not to picture us plummeting to our deaths – eeeeek!

We got to the start area (below picture) and I visited the ladies (the first of 3 trips before the start) before the other runners arrived. The 30km and marathon runners all started at the same point so it was nice to have a big crew assembled here together. I was lucky enough to be given a GPS tracker for the race (thanks Adrian!!), but didn’t have time (or reception) to let anyone back home know about it. So after my final pit stop, James and I lined up to cross the bridge which took us to the start line. It was a very high bridge that used to be used for Bungy, and the more I looked at it the more scared I got. I hate heights and nobody had mentioned this bridge to me. It wasn’t in the race briefing document. Shit!



The next thing I know i’m on the bridge (pictured below), i’m hyperventilating and crying and being steered over to the other side by a lovely lady who I had grabbed, while James made encouraging comments pushing me along. The bridge swayed and bounced and I thought I was going to die. The only thing that kept me moving was the fact that I HAD to cross the bridge to get to the start line, if I didn’t cross the bridge then my whole trip would be for nothing.


I made it over the bridge and i thanked and apologised profusely to the people around me, as I’d never experienced or felt anything like that before. I think it was a panic attack. It was like my mind was out of control and fighting my body that didn’t want to cooperate. I honestly don’t know how I made it to the other side of that bridge, but thankfully I did. And I did not die. I later learnt this bridge was 71 meters above the river below and 95 meters in length, and used to be the highest bungee bridge jump in the world (until Pipeline Bungy’s 103 meter which is just down the road). Below is the view of bridge from the start line, bloody high up if you ask me!!


We all made our way down the hill to the (beach) start and the views were already amazing (below). This was going to be one GREAT race!



Race Director Adrian Bailey gave us the obligatory pre-race information and wished us all well before sending us on our merry way.The energy at the start line was fantastic!

First up was a short soft sand hill followed by the first of many hills to come. The only flat(ish) section of this course was the last few (gradual uphill) kms into the finish at Moke Lake, I was looking forward to that section but it was a long, long way off.

Once we got up the first little hill there was a brief flat(ter) section then another climb, check out the runner-ants in the picture below.



I actually ran over an carcass of some animal during the first couple of kms, I think it was a deer but I didn’t look that closely, all I saw was a lot of fur and horns. Gross!

We crossed a few creeks early on and i chatted to a guy from the Terrigal Trotters, actually I was talking so much that i probably wasn’t paying enough attention to the trail and fell off the side of the mountain at about 6km! I clung to the long grass that grew onto the side of the mountain so I didn’t fall too far, but it was a close call. It reminded me to focus and get into race mode. I must have twisted/jarred my finger when i fell too as it throbbed for the rest of the race (and still feels sore even today).


The scenery is hard to describe with words, breathtaking comes to mind. And although my coach will kill me for stopping to take photos, I only ever took one photo of the same view and never stopped for longer than 4-5 seconds (well almost, but i’ll talk about that later).

I think it was at about this point we lost the 30km runners as they went a different direction, and then I came up to 2 huge rocks with officials standing on them to help people up. When I got to the rocks he said they were here to help us if we couldn’t climb up the rocks, but my stubborness and will to not be beaten overtook and I scrambled up the rocks unassisted. There!!





The mountains were nothing like what we have back home. Here the hills were exposed and vulnerable, not covered in trees and shrubs and protected. It was brown and there was long (slippery) grass and goat tracks to content with, and boy did they test your patience. The thin goat tracks were what i like to call ankle grinders. Imagine a thin gutter that’s the width of your foot (barely) and then try to run along inside that gutter for hours, one foot immediately in front of the other. It’s hard work, and i kept kicking the inside of my other ankle which hurt like hell after doing it a thousand times. I had to pick up my feet, something Damon (my coach) was always saying to me. I should probably listen to him more often.

My plan had been to run a lot more of the course than I ended up doing, but this was purely because the trail (if you could call it that) was not runnable. One guy behind me was swearing and cursing at the ground as he tried to run along and kept tripping, and i could feel his pain. We were all going through the same motions. I did gain a little more confidence on the goat tracks later in the race, but having never run on anything like this meant I was not prepared.


It was at this point that my stomach felt like I needed a number 2 badly. It has been building up and i’d been trying to ignore it, but damn that ‘peach cider’ from the night before, i knew I should have avoided it. I finally came to an area covered in trees and made my way into the scrub for a pitstop. Thankfully it was just a fart (ha ha), so i pulled up my pants and ran back up onto the trail before anybody could spot me.

We ran along bluffs and ridgelines and I chatted to other runners along the way, many of which were doing this race as their first marathon – talk about picking a tough course for your first marathon!! And you thought I was crazy 😉




After this hill we had a tricky downhill section to conquer and I nailed it. I passed about 10-15 runners as I got my confidence on the goat tracks and flew down the hill. I felt really good here but halted at the bottom when I saw an awful skinny bridge crossing, but pushed myself to cross it quickly without thinking too much!

Just like the views, the climbs were endless. I ran along through rainforests and on top of giants (what I like to call the mountains) and I met 2 runners from RunLab in Newcastle (below). I think there names were Clint and Karen. Karen (?) was training for the Anzac Ultra in May and I stuck with them for quite a long time during the run. It was nice to have their company and hear Clint getting yelled at (ha ha). We stopped for a few quick photos (below) before heading down the side of a sandy scree hill.

How much fun was the scree…?!?! I laughed like a 10 years old as I was slipping and sliding down that scree slope. With every step I moved about 4 metres down the hill. It felt like my feet were skis and I laughed loudly all the way down. If only all of the downhill sections were that easy.



My gaiters survived the scree slope (thanks Carolyn from Trail Gaiters) which was an amazig accomplishment! After the scree slope we made a few more river crossings, including a river that we had to wade through for a section, before climbing a ladder up to the next section (A ladder!! Just as nature intended it, ha ha).




We saw waterfalls and gorges and I started to feel very tight and my legs were feeling pretty shattered when I got to the halfway point at the Ben Lomond Station, it had taken me dead on 4hrs just to get there, insane!! I remember wondering how the heck my legs were going to cope for another 21kms of punishment but only time would tell.

I kept telling myself to toughen up and “Just F**king Run?”!! And when you looked up around you, there really was nothing to be complaining about…..





Just after the halfway point there was a checkpoint at the bottom of a very large mountain, my legs were not feeling very good (they were smashed from the huge descent) when i got to the bottom of this hill but I was delighted to see Anna Frost, an ultra running god (see below pic). She was assisting at the aid station and I chatted to her about her win at this race last year and tips for the rest of the course. She explained the next few climbs and the terrain and encouraged us all there to get moving again. Seeing her was a great motivator to get my butt back into race mode and moving up the next hill. And I overtook a few people as i power walked up the next climb, including a guy from Sweden who has raced all over the world.

Anna Frost

The biggest climb of the race was coming up so I backed off a little and prepared myself for that, a 6km steep climb to the highest point of the race. I think it was about this point that i started to hear the helicopters again too, so I waved at a couple of them.





When I got to the top of that hill i felt dizzy and out of breath, so i decided to sit down and get some food and water into me. I stayed there for about 5 mins and chatted to the girls manning the water station here. They told me how they had been flown into the location, and that the helicopter didn’t actually land, they just had to jump out with the gear and duck for cover. Incredible!!

I can’t remember much of the last part of the run and i’m not sure if that’s because it was so much like the first part, or because I was struggling and have put it out of my memory.  The backs of my legs were feeling very tight and on  couple of occasions i stopped to stretch which seemed to help a little.

There was a group of about 5-6 runners who had been ahead of me and i had been chasing for a few hours. Just when I thought I was getting close they’d somehow get ahead of me again. So when they stopped at the last aid station for food and refills I flew past them and carried on up the hill trying to put some distance between me and them. It worked, as I never saw them again!

There was lots of uphill and more downhill, and I lost count of the river crossings. When i finally got to the last flat(ish) runnable section I was so relieved that I could finally run at a consistent pace. There were a few (thousand) river crossings that slowed me down, but the rest was wide fire trail, slightly uphill all the way to the finish line. I remember stopping to drink from all of the creeks because the water in my pack was hot and the rivers we went through were icey cold, the water was so refreshing as I cupped it in my hands and drank away.

I remember looking behind me at one point and seeing a another lady closing in on me and I was determined not to let her pass me. i kicked it up a notch (god knows where the energy came from) and kept checking behind me to see if she was gaining or not. Eventually i lost her and caught up to some other male runners who were struggling. I passed another 4 or 5 runners on my way to the finish line and was so excited when I saw the shed next to the finish that I started crying.

Luckily nobody could tell I was crying as it was now sprinkling with rain. I saw a few walkers coming back towards me and they cheered me on. I was going to make it, how amazing! I ran my little heart out up that last hill, with many spectators and runners cheering me home.

I crossed the line and Adrian gave me a hug to congratulate me on the race. I had tears in my eyes and the biggest grin on my face, wow – I had really done it! What an amazing race!


After getting my finishers medal and free beer I headed for the heated spa (yes, how cool is that) and went for a quick dip in my undies and bra. It was so nice and warm and i thought I was never going to get out of there as the temperature had really dropped so it was getting quite cool now.

Eventually i dragged myself out of the tub after some banter with other runners doing the same. I put on my warm, dry clothes and got myself some food and a coke (it’s my reward to myself after a race, I love it but it’s so bad for you). They were about to stop selling food and James wasn’t even back yet so i saved some of my sushi in case.

I rested my weary body in the big shed and watched the presentations to the winners. James walked in about halfway through and I gave him some food and drink (he was very thankful). We chatted about our races and the course and scored a lift back to Queenstown with a lovely couple from the Central Coast.

When I got back to the hotel I had a quick shower (which revealed a large chaffing spot from my ripped tights, ouch!!) and sat on the bed to ring my hubby and my mum. I cried as I told them my news and they were very happy and excited to hear from me. What an incredible day! I was completely shattered and feeling exhausted but i felt on top of the world!

Somehow I dragged myself into the main part of town for some dinner/drinks with other runners. When I got there James had met some other runners Diane and Jill (plus her adorable family) and we ended up joining them at the same Italian restaurant I’d eaten at 2 night’s before (it was a great restaurant so I didn’t mind).

Diana, Jill, James and I got on like a house on fire! They were such great company and we shared many laughs and stories about this run and others we had done. We were so lucky to have met them and I know we will be in touch for many years to come.

I had the most rewarding experience for my first overseas marathon. And I highly recommend this race to anyone who has contemplated registering, it’s bloody tough but totally worth all the hard work. I’ll never forget the amazing views, the scary heights and the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.

Happy running 😀

Checking in

Last week I cam down with a sinus infection and it knocked me off my feet. I spent a good 4 days sleeping and even though i’m only just starting to feel human again, I’ve got a lot to look forward to. You see tomorrow I fly out to New Zealand and next weekend I will run my first overseas race, the Shooter Moonlight Mountain Marathon.

I have never visited New Zealand before so thought I’d get some extra time off work either side of the race to explore the country. I will be flying solo for this trip as the hubby is already back at work.

So tomorrow I fly to Auckland where I stay for a few days before flying to Christchurch to rock out at the Foo Fighters concert (yes i’m only flying to Christchurch and staying for 1 day to see them, they are my fav band and I would never miss a chance to see them in concert!!). Then I jump onto a bus and travel to Queenstown where I spend the rest of my holiday. I have a couple of days before the race to settle in and relax, then on 21 February i’ll be toeing the start line. After the race I have a couple of days rest and then I set off tramping Milford and Routeburn for just over a week. Then I fly home.

I am feeling very nervous and excited, but today i’m struggling to pack and keep worrying that I’ll forget to take something important. Fingers crossed that I don’t.

Keep well my friends and I promise to report back with all my stories when I return in March.

Happy running 😀