Queenstown (Greenstone Carpark) to Taipo Hut – 23km (2690km total)
The track ends at Queenstown and hikers need to work out how to get around Lake Wakatipu to where the trail starts again at Greenstone carpark. Some people hitch, others go and walk the Routeburn (one of NZ great walks) and then join back up with the trail a bit further down. I choose to get a shuttle to Greenstone to take the headache out of it. I have also walked the Routeburn before, so I didn’t feel the need to do that.
The first half of the day from the car park to Greenstone hut was lovely. You could tell that the trail is part of a popular circuit that many hikers do and that DOC promotes as the trail was very well manicured. It followed the river for most of the morning and it was a delight to sidle along a river and have a nice wide trail to walk on before the embankment down to the river. There were a few little waterfalls along the way as well. The other reason you could tell it was a popular track was that timing for it was generous. 3-5 hours to the hut. It took just under 3, but when ever people who don’t hike often might be on trail, they boost up the times to allow for a slower pace.
We had lunch at the hut which was lovely, with flushing toilets. I felt like I was at a 5 star hotel! 😉 Then the trail to Taipo Hut began and immediately I could tell that I was off of a popular hiking track and back on the TA. Marsh, mud, roots, overgrown and then once I was out of the forest, I was back in tussock grass trying to search for markers hidden and spaced ridiculously far apart, but eventually the hut came into view. The hut is basic, but it has incredibly wide beds. Almost double bed width for one person. I am totally going to star fish tonight! 😆
Today I am thankful for waterfalls and lovely manicured trail.