Day 141: Mavora Lakes Road
Friday, March 29, 2024 11:24 pm
Location: Princhester Road / Te Anau / Te Anau Central Backpackers (2851.6 km)

A long day on Mavora Lakes Road (and a hitch) brought me to Te Anau for resupply.

I was cold overnight. It didn’t appear to be below freezing, but it certainly felt that way since I was not war of it by sleeping bag, with both my fleece and my puffy on. However, when I went across the swingbridge to use the toilet on the other side, there was frost on the ground, so it probably was as cold as it felt.

Sunrise at the Mararoa River
Sunrise at the Mararoa River

The river was raging even more than it was yesterday evening. Camping at the swingbridge and crossing the river here was definitely the smart choice. So is taking the road rather than the trail. As it’s getting late in the season, there’s less than twelve hours of daylight each day. And with 31 km to go on the road before I can hitch into town, I don’t have the time to do the bulk of it on slow overgrown farm trail. (Though in fairness, I could hitch into town at any point along the road. The difficulty would then become getting back to that place to continue.)

A short gravel road past the car park on the far side of the Kiwi Burn Swingbridge brought me to the gravel Mavora Lakes Road, which started at the campground I went through yesterday.

I turned south onto the road, and followed it for hours, passing farms with innumerable sheep and cows. One calf was trying to escape its pen by crawling through the fence. (It couldn’t get through, fortunately.)


Heading south on the road, I gradually drew closer to some snow-capped mountains in the distance.


After nearly three hours, I passed the first junction with another road (excluding several farm access roads), and stopped for a break at a pull-off. A trio of cyclists arrived as I was packing up to continue, and passed me shortly after.

The weather was great up until that point. After, the sun disappeared behind clouds, and as the road turned more to the southwest, clouds began building ahead. The snowy mountains disappeared, and all I had left were mostly featureless farms and an occasional view of the Mararoa River.

Mararoa River
Mararoa River

About half an hour after my break, I rejoined the TA, as the trail itself joined the road. With the sun obscured, the temperature dropped a bit, though I kept warm by maintaining a raid pace.

Another new hours saw the end of Mavora Lakes Road, as it dead-ended into SH 94. I turned west onto the highway and followed it for a couple more kilometers, to Princhester Road.

That marked the end of the “hike” for the day. Tomorrow, I’ll continue down Princhester Road.

It took about half an hour to get a ride into Te Anau, about 20 minutes away.

I checked into my hostel, Te Anau Central Backpackers. After finishing planning for the next section of trail, I arranged for a shuttle tomorrow back to the trail. (I could hitch out, but I prefer the certainty of getting picked up at a defined time.) I very briefly considered zeroing tomorrow, but this seemed unnecessary, especially after taking two days off in Queenstown just a few days ago.

Normally, hikers go into Otautau for resupply next, but it’s reportedly a hard hitch to a remote town. But, a day earlier, in 72 km at the end of Mount Linton Station, it is possible to get a shuttle ($10 each way) to and from the Nightcaps Hotel (and restaurant) in Nightcaps. It’s a much smaller town, but it does have a Four Square, so resupply is possible. I called the hotel and arranged for a room and shuttle for Tuesday, in four days.

In town, I got a replacement water bottle for the one I lost two days ago. I also impulsively bought a new fuel canister. It’s probably unnecessary, but my current can is from Twizel, and that was nearly three weeks ago. I got food for five days. (More than I need, but just in case.) And, I got dinner.

Back at the hostel, I finally got a shower, then did laundry and repacked my food.

The rest of the people in my bunk room seemed disinclined to go to sleep, instead watching stuff on their phones or computers. I finally had to turn off the room’s light at 11 pm in order to get to sleep myself.